It is the year 1353 and Europe has been ravaged by the Black Death. The monk Adso is leading a group of survivors on a pilgrimage to a shrine in Tuscany, but things are not what they seem: he is a little too pale under his cowl and appears to always be fasting. Plus, many of his followers conceal dark secrets and few are innocent. Whatever their reasons for making the journey, the same fate awaits them all at its end: a hungry welcome from a powerful clan of Byzantine vampires. Yet among the pilgrims there is someone who touches Adso's unbeating heart and makes him doubt his very nature and the deadly mission he is meant to carry out.