Drawing on his boyhood in a religious community in 1930s Harlem, he tells the story of young Johny Grimes. Johny is destined to become a preacher like his father, Gabriel, at the Temple of the Fire Baptised, where the church swells with song and it is if 'the Holy Ghost were riding on the air'. But he feels only scalding hatred for Gabriel, whose fear and fanaticism make him cruelly abuse his family. Johny vows that, for him, things will be different. This blazing tale is full of passion and guilt, of secret sinners and prayers singing on the wind.