The big new novel by the bestselling author of WHISPERS IN THE SAND Emma imagined she was happy -- with her successful career in the City and her ... Show synopsis The big new novel by the bestselling author of WHISPERS IN THE SAND Emma imagined she was happy -- with her successful career in the City and her imminent engagement to her boyfriend, Piers, her future seemed mapped out. So why does the advertisement of Liza's Cottage for sale -- a house she remembers from childhood country holidays -- turn her well-ordered life upside down with longing? Mike Sinclair is the new rector of Manningtree and Mistley, a stranger in the tightly knit community on the rural Essex coast. Already he is fascinated by the history of the parish, but especially by the seventeenth century, when Chief Witchfinder Matthew Hopkins conducted his terrible work. It is the ghost of Hopkins that haunts the old shop in the high street, they say -- or the spirits of some of his victims who were tortured in the room upstairs. But now a television crew are filming there and, Mike wonders, if they are responsible for the increasing level of supernatural disturbance and the developing sense of unease in the parish? But as he starts to investigate, he realizes with horror that something or someone unpleasant is drawing him irresistibly into its possession. When Emma gives up her London life -- and Piers -- and moves into Liza's Cottage in Mistley, she is quickly enveloped by the gathering cloud of evil. Why do horrible dreams of the past -- about old Liza and a young widow, Sarah -- haunt her? Why is Emma being spied on by Lyndsey, a drop-out student who resents her presence, and whom everyone says is a practising witch? And why does Emma feel so threatened by the friendly and attractive rector?As the ancient feast of Halloween approaches, the escalating sense of menace in the community threatens to explode into bigotry, hatred and violence.Only a tiny handful of people glimpse what is really going on behind it all.Can they work out how to defeat the evil before it destroys everything worth having?