Josh, a laid-back, imaginative and overly romantic young man, works as a tour guide and storyteller on a 19th Century sailing ship, The Phoenix. He starts to believe that the ship is somehow communicating with him and has visions of a beautiful young woman, Emily Carson, whose family once owned the ship.
One day he sees a woman fall from a Viaduct into the river below and risks his own life to save her from drowning. After the rescue Josh visits the woman, Alex, in hospital. She has no idea how she fell in the water but is certain she was never on a viaduct. Josh believes the ghostly woman he saw fall was in fact Emily, who committed suicide in 1850.
He begins to obsessively research Emily’s past, piecing together her life, bit by bit. He and Alex start dating but Josh is increasingly torn between her and the visions of Emily, who is becoming ever more alluring and dangerous. Josh discovers she is cursed to look for the body of her true love, a young Lieutenant who died in mysterious circumstances during a voyage home from India.
Believing Josh to be her Lieutenant, Emily will not let any woman come between her and her beloved. Having killed off Louise, Josh’s boss, she ultimately possesses Alex in order to have him. Josh realises that to save not only Alex but himself too, he must unravel the dark history of The Phoenix and free Emily from her mental torment and the secrets that the ship holds to her past.