Late spring, the year of our Lord 1370. Owen Archer, ex-soldier and spy, is preparing to depart Wales, his work for John of Gaunt completed.
But his attempts to arrange safe passage home to York are thwarted by a mysterious suicide.
In York Lucie Wilton is disheartened by her husband's long absence and concerned by allegations against her apothecary.
Then Brother Michaelo brings upsetting news, forcing her to journey to her father's manor outside the city.
Increasingly desperate, she accepts the company of a stranger, who proves invaluable when they face danger. Angered by Owen's prolonged absence, aware of malicious rumours, John Thoresby, Archbishop of York, orders his return.
But Owen's stay in the land of his birth has created divided loyalties in him. And those who serve the Welsh rebel leader would have Owen sign up to fight and never go home...