Victorian England trembles on the verge of anarchy. Handbills plastered across London scream for revolution and insurrection. Terrorist bombs are detonating around the Capitol and every foreigner is suspected of being a bomb-throwing Anarchist lurking beneath a cape. Even Palace officials whisper warnings of a coup-de-tat.
Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle is summoned from a peaceful dinner in the palm-room of the Tivoli restaurant to the scene of a gruesome crime that has baffled and outraged Scotland Yard’s best. A senior member of Her Majesty’s government has been murdered—assassinated—in the most brutal and savage fashion. The body of his attacker lies several streets away—riddled with pistol bullets that inexplicably failed to stop him from carrying out his lethal mission. More perplexing, one of the attending detectives recognizes the dead assassin as Charlie Higginbotham, a local Cockney pickpocket and petty thief. However, Higginbotham is not just an improbable suspect, but an impossible suspect, for the young detective collared Charlie for the murder of his wife and watched him take the drop two weeks previously, hanged at Newgate Prison.
Conan Doyle calls in his friend Oscar Wilde for assistance and soon the two authors find themselves swept up in an investigation so bizarre it defies conventional wisdom and puts the lives of their loved ones, the Nation, and even the Monarch herself in dire peril.
The murders continue, committed by a shadowy cadre of seemingly unstoppable assassins. As the sinister plot unravels, an implausible theory becomes the only possible solution: someone is reanimating the corpses of executed criminals and sending them shambling through the London fog … programmed for murder.