In the aftermath of World War II, Lankester Merrin finds himself in the remote Turkana region of Kenya. Haunted by memories of the war, he has taken a sabbatical from the priesthood and journeyed far from his native Holland. He has come to lead the archaeological excavation of a mysterious, Byzantine church, buried in pristine condition as if on the day it was completed. Directly underneath the church, Merrin discovers a much more ancient crypt -- and finds himself face-to-face with unspeakable Evil.
Madness descends on the local villagers and the contingent of British soldiers sent to guard the excavation. Merrin watches helplessly as the atrocities of war are repeated against another innocent village -- atrocities he'd hoped to never see again. The blood of innocents flows freely on the East African plain, but the horror has only just begun....