Italy, 1348: A time of great marvels, desperation and despair; a time of war, famine, plague and heresy… Jacapo the thief and his cat Scimmi have always lived by their wits – whether conjuring demons in a  friar’s travelling show, escaping death on a plague ship or scaling the walls of a rich merchant’s mansion. But for Tuccio Di Piero Landucci, the rich merchant, there are intrigues to deal with both inside and outside the town of Topomagro. Discontent and insurrection grow in the back streets; Outside the walls, the mysterious Brother Corvo leads his ragged followers towards the Lord of Light and the Pestilential King. Roaming the countryside are the forces of the mercenary Wolf Schwanhals, ready to rape, fight or pillage. Meanwhile, the Cardinal Rollo de Parma tries to do a deal with Schwanhals and is visited by demons in his dreams. Described as a vivid piece of historical writing and a parable for the present.