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The circus arrives in Durham and the whole town is excited... until the body of a Shaker girl is found beaten.
The circus has arrived in Durham, Maine. Before weaver Will Rees is able to take in its spectacle, he spots Magistrate Hanson - the man he blames for his family's having to flee Dugard two years earlier.
On his journey home he encounters Shaker brothers searching for a girl from their Zion community. Despite women not being allowed inside the circus, Leah had snuck out to visit it. They quickly come across her lifeless body beaten and thrown into a farmer's field on the road leading to the circus.
Bored of his household chores, Rees begins investigating at the expense of his home life. He becomes entranced by the lives of the circus performers, including the charismatic horse rider and tightrope walker. Is his longing for his old journeyman's life causing him to take his eye off the case, and can he stay out of Hanson's way and keep his family safe?