As a child, playing with a slingshot, William Bellman hits a rook with a stone, instantly killing it. This childhood event is quickly forgotten, however, it will forever change the course of Will’s life. Unbeknownst to Will, as he grows into a man, quietly in the background, rooks continuously appear throughout his life.
Through sheer determination Will learns everything there is to know about the operation of his family’s mill. He is not heir to the business, but works his way through the ranks eventually owning the mill, making his mother and uncle proud. He appears to have a charmed life with a successful business, a happy marriage and four lovely children.
Slowly darkness begins to spread over Will’s cheery life, as one-by-one people surrounding him begin to die. At each funeral, Will sees a stranger dressed in black. No one knows this man or even seems to see him. An epidemic strikes the village and suddenly Will is left only with his daughter Dora. Desperate to save Dora’s life, Will strikes a bargain with the stranger to run a mysterious business in London called Bellman & Black.