Wycherly Musgrave doesn't have good luck with cars and alcohol. Trying to outrun the memory of a young woman he may have killed in a drunk-driving accident, Wych sends his expensive sports car sailing off the road...and, with his unusual impossible luck, survives the crash with no more than a few bumps and bruises. The car is totaled, stranding Wycherly in the tiny mountain town of Morton's Fork. Making the best of a bad situation, Wych decides to try and dry out.
Wycherly isn't Morton's Fork's only unusual guest this summer: A movie star has taken up residence in a converted schoolhouse. Sinah Dellon left Morton's Fork as an infant foundling. Now she's come home to learn who her people were - and why she has the ability to read minds. But Sinah's psychic powers do not help her with the townsfolk, who turn from her in fear and hatred.
Equally untrustworthy, according to the residents of Morton's Fork, are the RV-load of researchers from the Bidney Institute, come to investigate centuries of reported hauntings, vanishings, poltergeists, and other phenomena. They too are poking around in things better left unexplored. Before long, Truth Blackburn, heroine of Bradley's novel Ghostlight, discovers that the source of the psychic storm is a renegade Gate - and one with a connection to Truth's own tangled past. But she cannot close the Gate alone, and the true Keeper is nowhere to be found.
In despair, Wycherly Musgrave has made a pact with evil. In fear, Sinah Dellon feels her soul slipping away under attack from a vengeful spirit. In dread, Truth Blackburn must make a great sacrifice to save all the people of Morton's Fork, and the man she loves, from the power of the Gate.