In the summer of 1323, in the Cornish village of Cardinham, a penniless young woman, Athelina, is found hanged alongside the dead bodies of her children. Is it the final act of a desperate woman? It looks suspicious and Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace, and his friend, Bailiff Simon Puttock, are asked to investigate. But rivalry and feuding seem to have the whole of Cardinham in conflict-including the castle's men-at-arms and the strange, grim-faced squire who has so recently arrrived. And Simon and Baldwin soon realise that Atheline's death is not just an isolated incident... As the escape of a traitor threatens to embroil the country in a new civil war, Simon and Baldwin must look beyond friendship and family loyalties to find an evil killer and secure Cardinham's safety-but when law and order fail, how can any man hope for justice?