Arnold Landon, the author's quiet medievalist-sleuth (A Secret Dying, etc.), plays a modest role here, leaving the spotlight to Durham's Detective Chief Inspector Culpeper, his aide Inspector Farnsby, and the bizarre murder they're trying to solve. The victim is farmer James Lloyd, killed by a single bullet but mutilated in a way suggesting some bloody ritual, the letters GODAR nearby. There's a resemblance to an earlier killing in Suffolk of mayor Michael Jenkins and, as it transpires, to two murders in Europe. Lots of research, the piercing of some official secrets, and a brief education in Norse folklore finally uncover a common thread among the victims. Meanwhile, Landon's promised vacation from his job with the Morpeth Department of Museums and Antiquities has been canceled. He's been assigned to help a project in the village of Birley Thore, where imminent road-widening threatens an unexplored site possibly containing Roman ruins. Culpeper's and Landon's objectives meet dramatically at that site, bringing to a climax one of Lewis's best efforts. A mix of the exotic and the plebeian, clumsy at times but engrossing most of the way.