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The first time Sam sees the mysterious figure of Janet she vanishes into the deserted fields beyond the town where nothing has ever been built. Sam learns that centuries before this was the place to which plague victims were banished - Scabbit Isle - a place of terror. With the help of Mr Carruthers, the old curator of the local museum, Sam gradually uncovers the horror of Janet's story - consigned to Scabbit Isle by her cruel father and abandoned by her weak lover, Janet suffers without hope. She will continue to do so, if she can't find someone who, for love, will risk all to enter the plague colony to release her. Janet seems to be beckoning Sam to help her and a tragedy within Sam's own family brings Sam even closer to Janet's fate. Janet is the same age that Sam's twin sister Alice would have been had she not been killed in an accident. It is a loss from which Sam's father, in particular, has never recovered. Can Sam summon up the courage to face the terrors of Scabbit Isle and, like Orpheus, venture into the underworld to bring Janet peace?