"Carey and Dodd are back...the best detective pairing since Holmes and Watson."—SHARON KAY PENMAN, New York Times bestselling author
It's September 1592, and Sergeant Dodd is still in London with dashing courtier Sir Robert Carey. Carey urgently needs to get back to Carlisle where he is the Deputy Warden; the raiding season is about to begin. However, his powerful father, Henry, Lord Hunsdon, wants him to solve the mystery of a badly decomposed corpse that has washed up from the Thames on Her Majesty's privy steps.
Meanwhile, although he hates London, Sergeant Dodd has decided not to go north until he has taken revenge for his mistreatment by the Queen's Vice Chamberlain, Thomas Heneage. Carey's father wants him to sue, but none of the lawyers in London will take the brief against such a dangerous courtier. Soon a mysterious young lawyer with a pock-marked face eagerly offers to help Dodd. And then, just as Carey is resigning himself to the delay, the one person he really does not want to see again arrives in London to stir up everything.