England, 1819. Two enigmatic Americans arrive in London and soon after, a bank collapses. A man is found dead on a building site; another goes missing in the teeming stews of Seven Dials. A deathbed vigil ends in an act of theft and a beautiful heiress flirts with her inferiors. A strange destiny links each of these events to the American boy Edgar Allen Poe, brought to England by his foster father and sent to the leafy village of Stoke Newington to be educated. Soon the intrigue enmeshes a poor schoolmaster, Thomas Shield, who struggles to understand what is happening before it destroys him and those he loves.