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“It’s the oldest temptation. Not gold or the power it can buy, not love, not even the deep, drumming fires of lust: what we coveted first was knowledge.”

A legendary curse,
A witch-haunted king,
An ancient blade,
And all-too-modern murder….

As Kate Stanley begins directing rehearsals for Macbeth at the foot of Scotland’s Dunsinnan Hill, it doesn’t take long for the legendary curse on Shakespeare’s evil-ridden play to stir. Strange references emerge to the boy actor who first played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s day and died in the role. A trench atop the hill is found filled with blood shortly after some of the actors go missing. And a mysterious tarot card leads Kate into the woods where she finds a local woman dead in circumstances that suggest not just ritual murder, but ancient pagan sacrifice.

With Kate marked as both suspect and future victim, she and Ben Pearl race to discover an early version of Macbeth, said to contain actual rituals of witchcraft and forbidden knowledge. However much Kate would like to dismiss such rituals as superstition, someone else appears willing to kill for them—and for the cursed manuscript said to be Shakespeare’s darkest secret.