Hull student Nicholas Blaketon's life has fallen into a demoralising pattern. Humiliated and angry, he becomes fixated on pale and reclusive Alice Linwood. But Alice believes that people close to her die. She seeks escape by steering her future back into the past to uncover the shrine of a forgotten Celtic water goddess. Leonard Harkin uses pseudo-pagan rites to ensnare naive young lovers, but when old lovers return with the strength of cynical womanhood, is it in joy or to close his pattern? High on the North York Moors, Romano-Briton Ognirius Licinius Vranaun has clung to a thread of life-force through millennia, sustained by a thirst for retribution as targeted as once was his vengeance on the Keepers of the Pool. But now he knows how to use the elements to his advantage, and this time he will succeed - unless Nicholas can stop Alice from revealing the shrine and completing the pattern.