In November of 667 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel has returned home to her brother's castle to discover that a servant, her son's nurse, has been found brutally murdered in the woods near town, and her son is missing, presumed kidnapped or worse. Sister Fidelma, sister to king of Muman in Ireland, an advocate of the Brehon courts, and a religieuse of the Celtic Church, and her husband Brother Eadulf now must face their most personal and baffling case ever. Is there a traitor at her brother's court? Are the Ui Fidgente, the old blood enemies of Fidelma's family, involved? And what is the role of the mysterious dwarf seen leaving the kingdom carrying a leper's bell? With few clues and precious little time, Fidelma must unravel this complicated puzzle in time to rescue her missing child.