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Synopsis

When homeless and jobless, Simon Cotterill joins a hangman's crew replacing a man who was himself sent to the gibbet, he feels rejected even by the desperate men he now works with. Until he learns the secret of how a hanged man can walk away from his own grave. Meanwhile from the forest paths around Gloucester, young women are disappearing. When a disfigured corpse is found, the mayor suspects a coven of witches is preying on vulnerable souls, and arrests three hideous hags. Afraid the town's prosperity could suffer from a reputation for witchcraft, he holds a midnight trial that condemns the women. They are taken to be hanged. But the unearthly sounds of the forest at night frighten even the hangmen, and a violent storm drives them to seek shelter, leaving the witches swinging from the gibbet tree. The next morning their bodies are gone. Then, one by one, every person who took part in the trial is found dead, and Simon is forced into hiding to save his own life...

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