The story takes place in Europe (mostly England) in the 1600s. Really interesting and fast paced in the start, a little slower towards the end but stick with it, it's got an interesting ending! The story as a whole is dark (and darkly humorous) and even a bit gruesome in parts. Definitely geared towards those with a strong love of history and / or the early days of science and superstition. Consider yourself warned though, it's a bit of a hefty read at nearly 800 pages!