John Jasper is a troubled man, his psyche split between darkness and light. He has spent his life in the stifling and claustrophobic cathedral village of Cloisterham in a state of frustrated ambition, and has become addicted to opium in an attempt to still his ennui and expand his horizons. But the opium is fracturing Jasper's mind so that even as his soul reaches for the sublime in his music, his darker self has conceived a murderous hatred of his nephew Edwin Drood, who, he believes, stands between him and the lovely Rosa Bud. When two orphan twins Neville and Helena Landless arrive in town, Jasper's dark desires take shape and morph into shocking, drug-fueled action. Jasper's obsessions push him closer to the edge of sanity, while the most disturbing secrets of Cloisterham remain buried.