The winter of 1139 will disrupt Brother Cadfaels tranquil life in Shrewsbury, as raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester. Among them are two young orphans from a noble family and their companion, a young Benedictine nun. The trio, never reaching Shrewsbury, have disappeared somewhere in the wild countryside.
Cadfael feels afraid for these three lost lambs, but another call for help sends him to the Church of Saint Mary. A wounded monk by the roadside will surely die without Cadfaels healing arts. Why this holy man has been attacked and what his fevered ravings reveal soon give Brother Cadfael a clue to the fate of the missing travelers. Now Cadfael sets out on a dangerous quest to find them. The road will lead him to a terrible murder and a tale of passion gone awry, in Ellis Peterss most stunning depiction yet of love and war.