It is not just the living who are prey to 1780s London's criminals and cutpurses. Corpses, too, are fair game, dug up from fresh graves and sold to men of science for dissection. Dr. Thomas Silkstone's unscrupulous rival, Dr. John Hunter, has learned of the imminent death of eight-foot-tall Charles Byrne, known as the "Irish Giant," and is obsessed with obtaining the body for his research. When Dr. Hunter is implicated in the horrific murder of a young castrato, Thomas must determine how far the increasingly erratic surgeon will go in the name of knowledge. For as Thomas knows, the blackest hearts sometimes go undetected until it's too late.