John Elliott is the recently appointed vicar of St Joseph's - a dilapidated church with a congregation of sixteen and a leaky roof. Having entered the Church more by default than through any great calling, he struggles to inject some life into his ailing parish. His wife Christine longs for them to escape the end rounds of coffee mornings and cake sales. Then Theo, a child at her school, starts to exhibit strange marks on his hands and feet that vanish almost as soon as they have appeared. What has produced these marks - is it physical violence or something stranger? And why has the previous vicar of St Joseph's ended up in a psychiatric hospital?