In Portugal, during the Inquisition, an alien ship crashes outside a small village andchanges the lives of its people forever. Are the three silent aliens angels, to be worshipped? Or devils, tobe burned at the stake? The Inquisition will decide the fate of these three, as well as that of the villagersdrawn into the controversy. For an inquisitor, Manoel Pessoa is remarkably good-natured. He is dangerously apostate for aJesuit, too. He arrives at the village of Quintas and is amused to hear news of signs in the sky andvisions of Mary. A pity that he is not more concerned. For a man with two law degrees, Pessoa cansometimes be remarkably dense. When the townsfolk insist that a virgin has been gotten with child, Pessoa's amusement turns tohorror. This is deadly gossip indeed, and Pessoa must put an end to it before word of the heresy reachesthe Holy Office. But the stories will not be contained. A strange object has fallen, one that has birthed three mutecreatures. The year is l640, and superstition is dying. Vasco da Gama has sailed round the globe to showall of Portugal that the earth is full of marvels. Are these three creatures merely New World animals?Are they imps, as the villagers suspect? Or, as the parish priest believes, are they angels? Portugal's young and simple-minded king has come to see the wonder; within it he believes he hasmet and talked with God. On the heels of the king follow the politically-savvy Inquisitor-General and hisstate executioners. At whatever cost, they will put a halt to this lunacy and protect the interests of theChurch.