Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast, with his ward Constance Greene, has arrived in Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the cellar, behind the empty bottle racks, they find something considerably more macabre: the remains of a sealed chamber complete with rusted leg irons, fragments of bone and claw marks on the inside-face of its bricks. Then a historian is found murdered in the desolate salt marshes that surround the town, his face mutilated, his body carved with arcane symbols and a name: TYBANE. Exmouth, they will discover, has a grim history dating back to 1692 and the aftermath of the Salem witch trials. And now a dark secret, centuries old, is rising to the surface.