The philosophies of the Age of Enlightenment create sweeping changes throughout 19th Century Europe, but to Hungary's despised nomads, the gypsies, the world is still a dark and very dangerous landscape. Adversaries both mortal and supernatural lurk in the shadows, waiting to strike without mercy. Imre, a half-gypsy horse trader, understands the danger to his small family all too well.

Cursed with a hideously-disfiguring and fatal disease by the vengeful sorceress Anyeta, he watches those around him suffer and fall. Mimi, his wife, who is tricked into cutting off her own arm to create a powerful talisman. His friend Constantin, struck mute by Anyeta's wrath. And Lenore, his and Mimi's young daughter, who has been placed in the greatest jeopardy of all. With his health deteriorating and death imminent, his wife possessed by the witch's ghost and Lenore being groomed for a fate far worse than death, Imre turns to desperate measures and a hellish memory from his childhood—to still the sorceress and end her reign of bloodshed. A presence even more powerful and terrifying to him than Anyeta: the gentling box.