An eloquent and dramatic portrait of a city plagued by mysterious pestilence—as the isolation of the quarantine reveals the darker side of human nature.
The year is 1796, and a trading ship arrives in the vibrant trading town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. But it’s a ghost ship--her entire crew has been decimated by a virulent fever which sweeps through the harbor town, and Newburyport’s residents start to fall ill and die with alarming haste. Something has to be done to stop the virus from spreading further. When physician Giles Wiggins places the port under quarantine, he earns the ire of his shipbuilder half-brother, the wealthy and powerful Enoch Sumner, and their eccentric mother Miranda. Defiantly, Giles sets up a pest-house, where the afflicted might be cared for and separated from the rest of the populace in an attempt to contain the epidemic.
As the epidemic grows, fear, greed, and unhinged obsession threaten the Sumner family—and the future of Newburyport.