To escape from her own sadness, a woman finds refuge in a past time. In a village by the sea she watches the lives of the inhabitants unfold around her. But the year is now 1410 and this is a world of devils and miracles, a world in which there are no clear boundaries between reality and the power of the imagination.
A man's discovery of a mermaid washed up on the sand starts a chain of events that leads three of the villagers to accompany the enigmatic figure of the leper on a pilgrimmage to the Holy Land. The woman joins them and sets out without the certainty of ever coming home again.
The Leper's Companions was shortlisted for the Orange Prize.