It is 1798. Bonaparte's troops occupy Rome and are poised to ransack the Vatican
In the attempt to protect priceless manuscripts from the rapacious hands of the French, Antonin Fages, priest and librarian, comes across a curious confession written in a language which takes him straight back to his childhood in Languedoc, to his beginnings as a lowly curate in Margeride, and to the terrible year of 1764 when an affliction visited by God upon the countryside swallowed up the lives of children and young maidens.
The discovery of the manuscript forces Antonin to re-live three years of hell, from a time thirty years in the past. Three years hunting the Beast which terrorised the land, tearing out the throats of its victims, slaying and devouring all in its path.
At the time Antonin had found it an unfathomable mystery, beyond him. There can be no doubt that this confession harbours a terrible secret, for others not as well-intentioned as he will not hesitate to kill in order to lay their hands upon the manuscript.
The chase will drive the librarian into the underworld of Rome, in peril of his life, as he tries to stay ahead of the shadowy forces relentlessly pursuing him.