In a remote English village, the beautiful lady of the manor, Matilda (Lena Headey) waits for the return of her husband (Jon Finch) from France. Instead her nephew (Jason Flemyng) returns from war not with her husband but with a hostage, a mysterious French nobleman (David La Haye), who like a thunderous cloud will captivate her and bring darkness into her world. As a terrifying affliction begins to spread through the village the foreign prisoner becomes a focus of fear and suspicion. Is there some other dark force at work? One by one the village elders are found dead with strange words carved into their backs. A riddle that only Matilda can decipher. Pressure mounts on Matilda, not only from the mysterious deaths but from the lascivious Bishop (Ian McNeice) who is about to reposes her manor house and village, unless she pays him sexual favours, in 47 different ways. As she races against time, she uncovers the story of an unspeakable crime committed many years ago, for which all concerned must now pay the ultimate price.