Morris generates some genuine chills and thrills in this entertaining series opener that alternates between the 14th and 21st centuries. The author gets things off to a good start with a powerful opening set in 1356 Prague, as an herbalist named Fen'ka is burned at the stake for being a witch. With her last breath, she curses her killers—"When this fire dies, let all their nightmares come to life." Next, the action shifts to 2002, as Magdalena, who works in Charles University's literature and folklore department, encounters Fen'ka's ghost after receiving a warning from a fortune-teller. The author's background in medieval history stands him in good stead in the 14th-century sections, as he slips in interesting details to help make the fantastic plausible.