In a thrilling novel with clever twists and turns, four characters—a graduate student, her professor, his wife, and her priest—spin out of control in a world where science and religion are in constant conflict. A priest of the modern Roman Inquisition arrives in a New England college town to investigate allegations of child abuse by the local parish priests who have suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. The priest, a famous scientist in his own right, is immediately drawn into the private hell—and bed—of a pretty parishioner who confesses that she wants to kill her husband because of his infidelity. The husband, a prominent yet self-absorbed professor, is relentlessly driven by his mad quest to win the Nobel Prize and by his brazen and reckless lust for his students. When one of them falls ill with a mysterious neurological disorder, no one knows how bad things really are—until the subject of the professor’s secret research is revealed and crescendos in a brilliantly depicted battle between faith and science.