Bradecote and Catchpoll discover that sometimes the difference between the law and justice is a great one.
June, 1144. The naked corpse of an unknown man is discovered near Worcester, while the Prince of Powys's messenger has gone missing. Making the connection, Undersheriff Hugh Bradecote, Serjeant Catchpoll and young apprentice Walkelin head to Wales to discover his identity. But did the dead man deserve a noose rather than a dagger?
Retracing the dead man's steps leads the trio to a manor with a difficult lord, a neglected wife, a bitter mother and a fevered brother, none of whom want the truth exposed.