The story of Woodchester Abbey, in Gloucestershire, England, is one of change for in 1468 the Abbot is dying. Edward IV is anxious to cast off his obligations to the Earl of Warwick and the world outside is ready with printing and other advanced ideas. The abbatical election hinges on Edward's candidate, the Queen's cousin Nigel Woodville, and on Warwick's, Henry Osborne, canon at Salisbury Cathedral. One would experiment with new techniques, the other would keep everything traditional, cozy, undisturbed. But drought, famine, and finally plague rouse the Abbey's tenants to defy the power of the crucifix, to join in the violence that this choice has brought about, and to destroy the Abbey -- which it is Woodville's duty to restore. Here, in the details of the monastic life, in the personal lives of the monks, in the training for liturgy, Mass, praise and prayer, is developed the undermining of an ideal, the rise of heresy, and the doom of orthodoxy. This has a surprising hold on attention because of its own intensity of concentration which brings history alive without subjecting it to meretricious treatment. A market, familiar with Duggan, Prescott, Treece and others, has been established.