The year was 1768. Ekaterina Racovitža could still feel the echo of her sister’s body trembling, blood caking upon the bronzed haunches of the eagle adorning the Russian Tula blade lodged in Ionela’s chest. Three months and a thousand miles beyond that day, the gurgle of the girl’s lungs drowning, the last of her once-powerful Moldavian family murdered, still stung Kat’s ears. She’d failed to save them.
With her exiled to a remote commune in Southern France marred by its own failure, the madness of grief, regret, and isolation set in. The Gevaudan and its demons stalked her just as its notorious, malevolent La Bête had stalked and slaughtered hundreds before taking a bullet two years earlier.
Fuelled by the redemption offered in one man’s plea to find his daughter alongside the appearance of the Zagavory—three totems filled with Moldavian word magic—Kat exposes a countryside severed from the rest of the world. A depraved plot to save France, merging science with religion to build an unstoppable army, leaves its peculiar inhabitants victims of the monarchy and its allies. The discovery leads her into a realm of bizarre devotions, violent passions, and one family’s irredeemable loss where she is forced to determine the fate of the Gevaudan, revealing the nature of the monstrous in all of us.