As the first Crusaders leave for the Holy Land, the struggle between temporal and religious factions pit bureaucrat Count Edouard against the wily Bishop Rupert. The situation comes to a head when the young Brother Henri in Rupert's monastery begins to hear voices telling him that he is the long deceased Saint Martin.
The solution is a "Ship of Fools" supposedly sailing to the Holy Land to join the Crusade. Thus begins a seemingly impossible journey through the inland waterways of Europe with Wilem, an alcoholic who sleeps in stables, young Ekkehart who hears voices on the wind, and Adele whose tall tales come directly from the voices she hears.
Guided by a Moor returning to a homeland he's never seen and a psychic attempting to escape the fires of the Inquisition, the erstwhile pilgrims encounter Eastern as well as Western laws, beliefs, and medicine, sailing a much greater distance than mere miles as their journey takes them from the dark night of superstition to the dawn of psychiatric treatment as they seek hospice in the same place others seek asylum and prosperity; Jerusalem.
In 1660 the fires of the Inquisition are raging throughout Europe but in England the laws, medicine, and theology have combined to light a fire of their own; the hunt for witches.
A Witch's Voice, set in Essex, England, is the story of Rose Gilbert, only daughter of Henry Gilbert, a prosperous landowner. Her future inheritance has not escaped the notice of her nosy Puritan neighbor, Agnes March who has also noticed Rose's odd behavior; Rose hears voices. Rose seeks help from the Anglican cleric and physic John Wentworth who uses the latest medicine; astrology. When the stars and planets fail to cure her he recommends a pilgrimage to Geel, Belgium where, for nearly a thousand years, others who hear voices have journeyed in hopes of a miracle from Saint Dymphna. The stay in the unique town seems to help Rose and Henry believes she is cured.
On their return Agnes, aided by her Puritan cleric Profideous Thayer, have used the laws that outline proper procedure for discovering and prosecuting witches, to bring Rose to trial.
The only way to save Rose from the hangman's noose may be entering Saint Mary's of Bethlehem Hospital in London; Bedlam.