John Thoresby, the Archbishop of York, lies dying. One of the most powerful men in the country, his imminent demise has the dominant families of the north vying to influence his succession. Owen Archer, one of the few men Thoresby trusts, is determined that his lord's last days should be as peaceful as possible. But his plans go awry when Thoresby agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales. Within minutes of her arrival, a member of the royal party is murdered. Only days later, a messenger carrying urgent letters for Thoresby is found hanging in the woods. Owen races against time to find the murderer amongst them.