“I plead the blood” was the last thing Clay Tate’s father said to him as he died. This was after he slaughtered a dozen pregnant cows and attempted to do the same to the bull in the breeding barn. Papa Tate had been driven mad by who knows what—a bad batch of genetics, maybe, or meth—and as the one year anniversary of his death rapidly approaches Clay begins to recognize his father’s madness repeating in himself. It all begins again when Clay is harvesting wheat on his family’s farm and accidentally runs over a golden calf, just as his late father predicted. Soon he’s seeing things that aren’t there and hearing sinister voices in his head.
Fate pushes him back into the orbit of the Preservation Society, the council populated exclusively by the descendants of the founders of Clay’s Oklahoma hometown. He and his former friends are the sixth generation from the founders, but their intertwined destinies are greater than football and barbecues. As Clay loses sense of what’s real and what’s imaginary, the body count rises. Terrible killings fuel wild accusations of murderous insanity and devil worship and poor Clay is caught right in the middle of it.