St. David's, Wales, late spring, 1370. After finishing political duties and a pilgrimage to the land of his birth, the agent Owen Archer is anxious to depart for home. Yet his attempts to arrange safe passage back to York and his herbalist wife, Lucie, and their children are thwarted when a stonemason in Owen's employ is found viciously hanged. Forbidden by the Archdeacon of St. David's to depart until he has found the murderer, Owen must now extend his stay. In York, Lucie is disheartened by her husband's long absence and troubled by malicious accusations against her apothecary. When Lucie receives further distressing news about her aunt, she must immediately journey to her family's manor outside York. A concerned friend insists that she be escorted by the valiant steward Harold Galfrey, a handsome and mysterious man whose attraction to Lucie is all too clear. Now without Owen, Lucie will face an earthly temptation, even as she confronts a chilling betrayal within her circle. Angered by Owen's delay and aware of the rumors that the spy has abandoned his family, the Archbishop of York dispatches a messenger to order Owen's return. But Owen is now caught up in a country at war. For the English presence in Wales has engendered divided loyalties, even as the rebel cause tugs powerfully at Owen's heart. And working in the shadows, the cunning rebel leader called the Redeemer plots to have Owen Archer sign up for the ferocious fight and never return home.