In an age of intolerance, compassion can be dangerous. Pillar of Fire captures the stunning witness of the medieval mystics known as Beguines. Amid the intrigues of kings and knights, against a panorama of church corruption, Crusader campaigns, and Inquisition trials, these bold women broke all the rules. In this sweeping historical saga, young Clarissa flees from a forced marriage, befriends a colorful minstrel, and unravels the mystery of a midwife's murder. After a spiritual pilgrimage to the Egyptian desert, she returns with a Muslim orphan and gathers a community of devoted sisters. Threats come when they offer refuge to people suffering from leprosy and a Jewish family under persecution. When church officials get word of their rituals celebrating the feminine aspects of God and of Clarissa's mystical visions, they charge her with heresy and turn up the heat, as she struggles with the wound of betrayal and discovers the power of forgiveness.