Cordelia Redman, a twenty-nine-year-old bank teller, has never broken a law in her whole life, as far as she knows. So its a shock when shes arrested by police officers who seem to have no idea what crime shes supposed to have committed, and an even greater shock when they drive her not to the jail, but to the town green, where they place her on a platform in an iron collar suspended by a chain from an overhead beam. Its disconcerting that everyone who speaks to her in this place seems to be under a compulsion to blurt awkward truths—the most awkward and disturbing of which is that theyre all eagerly looking forward to the spectacle of her death. As a festive crowd gathers, Cordelia begins to realize that they will surely get their wish if she cant quickly find a way out of her predicament. As her terror grows, so does her self-awareness: but will this new knowledge be enough to save her?