Set in late 19th century Baltimore, The Institute tells the story of Isabel Porter who, stricken with grief from her parents' untimely death, voluntarily checks herself into the Rosewood Institute.
It is reputed to be an ideal place for wealthy young women to recuperate and receive treatment for minor maladies, but Isabel soon learns that the asylum's ‘cutting edge science’ is not what it seems. As she falls under the sway of the Institute's head doctor, Dr. Cairnes, she is subjected to increasingly bizarre and violent experiments in personality-modification, brain-washing and mind control. As Isabel falls further into the abyss – no longer able to distinguish nightmarish fantasy from reality – her brother Roderick becomes suspicious of the seemingly respectable Rosewood. As he starts investigating, he uncovers The Aconites, a secret society made up of the wealthy and elite that funds, encourages, and profits from the Doctor's perverse ‘treatments.’
Can Roderick save Isabel or will he become a victim of one of the Aconite's arcane rituals? Can Isabel escape the clutches of Dr. Cairnes and exact vengeance, or will she become a “Rosewood Girl”, destined to live out her days in “the Pit” with the rest of Cairnes' brainwashed patients?