In the dead of night, a cloaked figure drags a heavy box through snowcovered streets. The chest can only be opened when the fangs of its serpent's-head clasp taste blood. Centuries later, in an Oxford library, a boy touches a strange book and feels something pierce his finger. The volume is wordless, but fine veins run through its pages, and they seem to quiver, as if alive. Words begin to appear in the book - words only the boy can see.