London, 1899. Three years after an inexplicable event suddenly equips them with extraordinary abilities, Amalia True and Penance Adair work to protect their kind from widespread, deepening antipathy. Meanwhile, police inspector Frank Mundi investigates a string of murders at the hands of a reportedly Touched and highly dangerous serial hugger named Maladie.
In the last years of Victoria's reign, London is beset by the 'Touched': people - mostly women - who suddenly manifest abnormal abilities, some charming, some very disturbing. Among them are Amalia True, a mysterious, quick-fisted widow, and Penance Adair, a brilliant young inventor. They are the champions of this new underclass, making a home for the Touched, while fighting the forces of... well, pretty much all the forces - to make room for those whom history as we know it has no place.