Lust, deceit, and murder bloom in old New England....
Spring, 1764. While the specter of smallpox stalks colonial Boston, much of the city seeks refuge in the burgeoning countryside. Restful, bucolic Bracebridge is one such haven, and young widow Charlotte Willett and her neighbor Richard Longfellow, scientist and gentleman farmer, host a handful of guests undergoing the generally accepted procedure of inoculation.
Yet shortly after the quarantine begins, one of the patients is found dead and Charlotte and Richard are thrust into a whirl of rumor, conjecture, and fear. What, if not smallpox, caused the patient's untimely demise? Has the distraught physician in charge something to conceal? And who might have risked contagion to commit murder? Before these questions can be answered, another shocking death occurs.
Now, as some superstitious townsfolk blame both the Pox and the Devil, Charlotte and Richard are determined to follow logic and reason to the all too human source of the problem. But can they arrive at the truth before another victim is claimed?
From the Paperback edition.