Let Jesse summarize:
Coming in the wake of the Illuminati panic of 1798, in which Federalists fretted that the secret society was aiming "to subvert and overturn our holy religion and our free and excellent government," Wood weds those anxieties to a Gothic melodrama set in pre-revolutionary France, featuring an Illuminatus who holds a young woman captive and plots against her virtue. Wood's Illuminati are a depraved band of nature-worshippers, seizing personal pleasures as they prepare for the Jacobin apocalypse. At one point Wood has a woman describe the order's initiation ceremony: "disrobed of all coverings except a vest of silver gauze, I am to be exposed to the homage of all the society present upon a marble pedestal placed behind which sacrifices are to be offered." The character adds, "This sect increases daily. They will in a few years overturn Europe and lay France in ruins."
Wood was the first woman American Gothic writer.