October 1143. A mysterious archer who kills cleanly and "dissolves" into the forest, a missing train of pack mules on the salt road from Wich, and a lord in the wrong place at the wrong time, mean a crime the lord Sheriff of Worcestershire cannot ignore. Bradecote, Catchpoll, and the eager Walkelin, are hunting a killer and a gang, and whoever is giving them orders. They are not helped by a reeve keen to keep his position, a lord with his own ends to serve, and a distrusting and vengeful widow with a haunted past, to whom Bradecote is increasingly attracted.
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