In 1703, Mary emerges from Abenaki Indian captivity and returns to Salem, where she gathers together a band of abused children. These include Mary's niece, the endearing five-year-old Sophie, whom her mother, Letty, accuses of being a witch and locks up periodically without food or water. Letty also abuses pretty fifteen-year-old black 'Chuba, Letty's slave, whom Letty shoots for secretly feeding Sophie. Roaming the streets is Dorcas, the teen-aged distracted daughter of a hanged witch. And taking refuge in the Pest House are the plague-scarred artistic ten-year-old Abigail, and the inventive twelve-year-old Thaddeus, both cared for by Elihu, a hideously cratered hulk of a man who falls hopelessly in love with Mary. Her moral compass and spiritual knowledge guide her to rescue many victims of societal and individual injustice.