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Set in 1440s London, Italy and Greece against a turbulent political background enflamed by religious divisions, the unfolding narrative of Benedict Paston and Annie Carter's relationship encompass memories of heresy, murder, loss and betrayal.

Benedict an erstwhile sundial maker, is lost to the world. His self-imposed exile, both emotional and physical, in a remote Greek monastery is relieved only by the task of painting an icon under the monks' instruction. Their hope: to save his tortured soul. As the hours of devotion mark the progress of one day in his monastic cell, an escape from Benedict's self-destructive isolation is brokered by the image of Mary Magdalene, guiding him back to his previous life and a new understanding of the events that have led him to Greece.

Annie, a young widow beset by visions and facing death, finds that she too has an unusual guide and confessor as the light and shadows mark the progress of an English day in a very different cell .....