A practitioner of white magic becomes embroiled, against her will, in the Guy Fawkes conspiracy.
In this latest of Carroll’s popular series featuring witches, good and evil, of late-Renaissance Europe, the protagonist is Meg Wolfe, the recently anointed Lady of Faire Isle. Although her mother, the late Cassandra, leader of the sinister Silver Rose coven, had tried to groom Meg as her successor sorceress, Meg opted for the Lady’s mostly benign duties, leading an isolated group of “cunning women,” healing with herbs, and undoing spells cast by bad witches. When she’s summoned to Brittany to investigate a demonic possession, she is enlisted by an English knight, Sir Patrick Graham, to lift a curse plaguing King James. Once in London, escorted by Patrick and his friend, the dissolute but charming physician Armagil Blackwood, Meg regrets leaving the serenity of Faire Isle. Dreams and other clues reveal to her that Sir Patrick may actually be Robert Brody, whose twin sister was burned at the stake for witchcraft years before, along with an old crone, Tamsin, who had believed the condemned duo would be pardoned by James. When James demurred, Tamsin cursed him and the Stuart line from the pyre. Could Patrick be using Meg to win the king’s confidence while plotting treasonous vengeance? Outwardly loutish but secretly sexy Armagil tries to warn her, but when he touches a poisoned Silver Rose found in the garden of her lodgings, she is distracted by the need to save his life then consummate their mutual attraction. When Patrick catches them together, he’s incensed, but his accusations hint at fears Meg already harbors. What if Cassandra isn’t dead after all? What if her coven has returned, bent on declaring Meg their all-powerful queen, Megaera? What if Guido (Guy) Fawkes’ gunpowder goes stale before he can blow up Parliament?
Skillful story weaving insures that readers will only know the answers to the book's questions at the end.