The year is 1303, and England's King Edward is near bankruptcy as he prepares for another attempt to conquer Scotland. He's eyeing the assets of the Knights Templar—beaten back in their efforts to take the Holy Land but rich in property and money. Several of the Knights have arrived in York from France to reactivate the order's manor in Framlingham. (A member of the order has recently been implicated in a plot to kill the King of France.) In addition, a note has been found at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, threatening King Edward. His longtime troubleshooter Sir Hugh Corbett (The Song of a Dark Angel, 1995, etc.) reluctantly agrees to investigate the threats as well as the macabre events at Framlingham, where a deadly fire has taken the lives of several Knights Templar, including the devout Sir Guido Reverchien, the wise old librarian Brother Odo, and young pastry chef Peterkin. As if that weren't enough, an attempt to kill King Edward is made as he rides in pageantry through York, and Corbett himself barely escapes death at the hands of an assassin later found burned to death in his tavern room. The business of counterfeit coins being circulated and rumors of sodomy among the Templars seem like minor matters by comparison, but in the end they too are resolved, as Corbett, faithful Ranulf at his side, finds a ruthless killer, leaves the King's service, and joyfully heads for reunion with beloved wife Maeve. Almost impossibly dense with characters, intrigue, and incident, embellished by the sights, sounds, and smells of York and environs, described in overpowering detail: This ninth in the series is a chronicle too rich for its own good.