As a revolution brews amid the squalid streets of 1381 London, a murder fights for attention.
Since Richard II is only 14, the royal power currently lies in the hands of his uncle, John of Gaunt, the manipulative head of the house of Lancaster. The country seethes with discontent. In London, the mysterious leader of The Upright Men, whose plans to overthrow the government are close to fruition, is hard at work sowing discord. When Amaury Whitfield, the chancery clerk for Master Thibault, Gaunt’s Master of Secrets, is found hanged in The Golden Oliphant, an enraged Thibault and the coroner, Sir John Cranston, call upon Brother Athelstan to investigate. Athelstan is no stranger to difficult puzzles (The Book of Fires, 2015, etc.), but proving that a man found dead in a locked room was murdered will be no easy task. The Golden Oliphant is a tavern and brothel packed with people hiding secrets and trying to forget their fear of impending death. So many plots abound that Athelstan, who has the ears of both sides, finds himself in a dangerous position as he tries to unravel the many entwined schemes. More deaths follow, stretching everyone’s nerves to the breaking point as competing factions jostle for position before the revolution comes.
A cerebral, slowly unwinding whodunit rooted in history, packed with details of lives so wretched that it’s no wonder revolution was in the air.