Desperate teenager, Faith, flees Arcadia community, the religious cult controlled by their leader, Abe who molests young girls.
Faith’s fear and shame of remaining Abe’s victim, drives her to leave her family to join the Outlanders—a group of rescuers on the outside who have already escaped.
Retired Detective Inspector, Ann Grieves, the main protagonist, is summoned by her fiancée, Reverend Thomas Pope, to investigate the allegations of child abuse.
Ann is a quirky, slightly eccentric woman in her early fifties who lives in Cockle Bay West Auckland with her Beagle dog, Scout, an ex-police dog.
She and her nephew, Tim Martin, run a private detective business called Calamity Unlimited. They find evidence of child abuse within the community. Tim enters Arcadia undercover as Josh Wilson, an agricultural apprentice. His fiancée is Australian.
Seth, the dairy foreman threatens to blow the whistle and alert the police when Eden, his friend’s sister, is molested by Abe and disappears. Ann discovers the lad’s bloated body hanging high in a Pohutukawa tree in surrounding bushland and signals the police team.