A sweeping historical epic and powerful romantic drama set in medieval France: a time of the Great Plague, of witchcraft, and the Inquisition.
Locked in a torture chamber within the walled city of Carcassonne the Abbess Marie Francoise listens helplessly to the screams of her sisters while she awaits the arrival of the Inquisition to take her confusion as relapsae. As the worst of heretics, a fiery death awaits her at the stake.
The Grand Inquisitor's scribe, Brother Michel, arrives with his mentor, Father Charles, to transcribe her confession confident that her soul can be saved. But upon meeting the Abbess, Michel is assailed by a sudden, horrifying wave of desire for her: a desire that is both physical, and attended by memories of another man's life; and spiritual: for surely this is the woman he saw with his own eyes perform a miracle outside the Palace of the Popes in holy Avignon?
When Father Charles is suddenly struck down by the plague - by chance or by magic? - Michel finds himself promoted to father, sanctioned by the Church to examine the witness and hear her confession. As the Abbess slowly divulges her past, Michel's safe and ordered world is ripped apart. Her tale will shake the very foundation of his belief, while his heart will be trapped between the cleansing fires of Christian purity and the seductive flames of his desire.
Is there truth in her tale? Is there indeed a spiritual Race, within whom lies the true path of compassion; a Race that is being systematically rooted out and destroyed by the Catholic Church? Michel must learn the truth in the world, and in his heart, if he is to save souls, including his own.