Nicholas Peverell has returned to his manor house in Sussex after visiting King Henry VIII at court to find that his loyal steward has been murdered---strangled and thrown from the manor house tower. Nicholas immediately decides to launch an investigation.
He also has to deal with the unrest among the monks at his priory---King Henry is trying to reform the church and the plight of the monks is as yet unsure---could they somehow be involved?
Nicholas' problems are further exacerbated when beautiful and talented local girl Jane Warrener tells him she has overheard talk of a conspiracy against the king. It is her notion that his steward's murder had something to do with it. Perhaps he overheard the conspirators and they killed him off before he could betray their plans. . . .
If this is the case, and with King Henry's untimely announcement of his intention to visit Peverell Manor on his way to Portsmouth in just a few days, Nicholas has no time to lose if he is to hunt down the murderous traitors and save the life of his king.