It's summer 1270, and England is as weary as its aging king, Henry III. The Simon de Montfort rebellion is over, and in the small priory of Tyndall on the remote East Anglian coast, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevraud long to return to their tranquil routine. But then the young, inexperienced Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed their new prioress. It's a political move and not popular.
The day after she takes up her office, a brutally murdered monk is found in the cloister gardens. Then Brother Thomas arrives. Sent to investigate the Order's shaky finances, the young priest is also paying the price for a crime that could see him burn. As Thomas battles to accept his new life, Eleanor, struggling to gain the respect of her terrified and resentful flock, must cope with violence, lust, and greed to find a vicious killer.
In the summer of 1358 Matthew Bartholomew finds himself one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, sent north to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Abbot of Peterborough. He and his colleagues quickly learn that behind the beautiful façade of the Benedictine monastery there is a vicious struggle for power, and that not everyone would be happy to see the prelate's safe return.
This unrest and discontent seems to have spread throughout the town, and there are bitter rivalries between competing shrines and the financial benefits of the relics they hold. One of these shrines is dedicated to Lawrence de Oxforde, a robber and murderer who was executed for his crimes, but who has been venerated ever since miracles started occurring at his grave. But when Bartholomew and his friend Brother Michael go to investigate, they find murder instead...
'A first-rate treat for mystery lovers' (Historical Novels Review)
'Susanna Gregory has an extraordinary ability to conjure up a strong sense of time and place' (Choice)