Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, in the service of High King Arthur, uncovers murder and heresy in a second investigation in Dark Ages Britain.
After a long-winded recap of his previous adventure (The Killing Way, 2009), Malgwyn sets off to accompany Arthur on a visit to the monastery at Ynys-witrin, where the king will negotiate with the abbot Coroticus and make certain of the loyalty of his vassal Lauhiir. On the road, they meet Brother Ider, who urges them to make all speed to the abbey. Elafius, a learned old monk, has been found dead in his ransacked cell, poisoned and wrung by the neck. Is the motive for the crime buried deep in Church teachings? Elafius had been a staunch opponent of women in the Church, arguing with the beautiful abbess Rhiannon. And there are whispers of more insidious heresies in the monastery, heresies so threatening that the saintly missionary Patrick has come from Hibernia to root them out. Or is the motive more venal? Lauhiir has become suspiciously rich from mining tin, and Elafius knew much of metallurgy. Confronted by a mystery so deeply entwined in the Church, Malgwyn joins forces with Patrick to investigate. But even their combined wits cannot stave off more killing, as Malgwyn scours the West to discover a dark conspiracy.
The complicated plot and bravura ending are sure to appeal to fans of medieval intrigues and stirring battles.