The late nineteenth century -- the age of reason, of enlightenment, of industrialisation. Britain is the workshop of the world, the centre of the Empire.
Progress has left Middletown behind. The tin mine is worked out, jobs are scarce, and a crack has opened across the moors that the locals believe reaches into the depths of Hell itself. But things are changing: Lord Urton is preparing to reopen the mine; the Society for Psychical Research is interested in the fissure; Roger Nepath and his sister are exhibiting their collection of mystic Eastern artefacts. People are dying. Then a stranger arrives, walking out of the wilderness: a man with no name, no history.
Only one man can unravel the mysteries; only one man can begin to understand the forces that are gathering; only one man can hope to fight against them. And only one man knows that this is just the beginning of the end of the world. Only one man can stop The Burning.