In the Great Wealden Forest, power has fallen into the wrong hands.
It is Midsummer 1195. A ruthlessly ambitious man has fallen deeply into debt, his desperate situation made even more difficult by the contribution he has had to pay towards King Richard's ransom. To make matters worse the beautiful wife he tricked into marriage has tired of him and her mother hates his guts.
But then he makes an extraordinary discovery that dramatically changes his fortunes . . . until his lifeless body is found hidden in the undergrowth. Which of his many enemies loathed him enough to resort to murder? Josse d'Acquin, driven by his love for the Abbess Helewise and for the other mysterious woman whom he holds in his heart, knows that he has no choice but to investigate. But the personal cost will be high . . .