Eighteen-year-old Rebecca is feared by the other villagers of Dunmow because of her hare lip and gift of second sight. It is 1562 and Queen Elizabeth has restored the Protestant faith, but Rebecca is much taken with Michael St Clair, a young Catholic priest who comes to the village in disguise.

In the late summer Henry Frogmore, the new parson, arrives. He is a sinister warlock, more interested in the black arts than holy orders and in Rebecca and Michael he finds powerful opponents.