Another labyrinth adventure for one-eyed Welshman Owen Archer (The Riddle of St. Leonard’s, 1997, etc.), captain of the Archbishop of York’s retainers in 14th-century England. This time, Owen is to journey to Wales, his long-unseen homeland, to recruit archers for the Duke of Lancaster, bolstering the Duke’s forces against a rumored (soon-to-come) attack on England by King Charles of France. Owen is accompanied by Geoffrey Chaucer, whose mission is to inspect and report on the fortifications at the Duke’s Welsh castles, overseen by his steward John Lascelles. Traveling with them are Owen’s ailing father-in-law, Sir Robert D—Arby, and Brother Michaelo, the Archbishop’s secretary, both on a pilgrimage to St. David’s shrine. Owen is to meet with John de Reine, the steward’s son, at Castle Carreg Cernen, but de Reine’s murdered body has been left at the Tower Gate of St. David’s. Owen and Geoffrey offer to escort the body, in company with Father Edern, to his father’s home at Castle Cydweli. Once there, a second killing occurs and Lascelles— beautiful wife Tangwystl vanishes, along with Father Edern. Tangwystl’s father is Gruffydd, deeply involved in a money scam and said to have ties to the infamous traitor Owain Lawgoch. There are endless comings and goings, a surfeit of characters and conflicts, and much soul-searching as Owen rediscovers his roots, suffers a deep personal loss, identifies the killer, and prepares to return home. A literate, meticulously researched jumble of confusing subplots and unpronounceable names. In all, a disappointing sixth outing for this often enthralling author.