A return to the closing years of the 15th century reveals a severed head in a brine barrel, a king’s missing treasure and a mystery man with an ax.
Lawyer Gil Cunningham (The Nicholas Feast, 2005, etc.) is invited by his old friend Augie Morison to examine his latest delivery of books. Instead of reading material, however, the barrel contains a familiar-looking head and coins and jewels from James III’s missing treasure. When Augie is arrested, Gil sets out on a dangerous road trip to prove his innocence. He leaves behind his betrothed, the clever Alys, and his sister Kate, whose hopes of a miraculous cure for her withered foot have just been dashed. Taking over the running of Augie’s house when his daughter’s nurse leaves, the two women must deal with the mystery of a murdered servant who knew too much and intruders who have broken in to search for the treasure. Meanwhile, Gil and his future father-in-law Pierre are attacked on the road as they retrace the path of the barrel. The clues lead to Roslin, where they find more treasure in the unfinished church. Gil must walk a fine line between powerful forces in order to solve the murders and return the treasure to its rightful owners.
A convincing tale of loving families and brutal killers that delves deep into medieval Scottish life.