In 1558, young Kate Sutton, handmaid to the Princess Elizabeth, is exiled by Queen Mary to a remote castle known as Perilous Gard. While there, practical, clumsy Kate becomes involved in a series of mysterious events (including the unexplained disappearance of the lord of the manor's young daughter) that lead her to an underground labyrinth peopled by the Fairy Folk — powerful, even malevolent, beings whose customs are older than the Druids' and include ritual human sacrifice. Imprisoned by the Fairy Queen and forced to perform the role of a servant to the Folk, Kate must somehow find her way back to the world above if she is to save the Fairies' latest victim from the fate that awaits him.
This novel combines fantasy with a historical backdrop. The plot, while it sounds somewhat macabre and gruesome, in actuality shows the inevitable confrontation between the Christian religion which Kate represents and the dark pagan powers still haunting 16th century England's corners.