He is an aspiring writer, plagued by dreadful ruminations - a man whose troubled nights are haunted by dreams of his angelic cousin Virginia. He is Edgar Allan Poe, a literary critic known for his uncompromising standards and scathing pen. His recently published attack on the autobiography of Colonel David Crockett, U.S. congressman and celebrated American hero, has brought the indignant frontiersman - unexpected, uninvited - to the chamber door of Poe's private sanctum. Neither man is prepared for where this fateful meeting will take them: on a quest for a killer through the city's highest and lowest streets and byways. In a modest boarding house, an elderly widow of sad circumstance has been found murdered by an unknown assailant. On the wall above her bed, scrawled in the victim's blood, is a single, cryptic word. But the meaning of the chilling clue is merely one piece in a complex puzzle that ensnares the writer and the politician in a twisted and deadly game. For the ghastly crimes, each more bizarre than the last, have only just begun.