1647, England. Wayland, village blacksmith, returns from war to find his wife, Rebecca, brutally murdered, his son traumatised and struck dumb. Wayland's desire for revenge is thwarted by the collapse of laws and a dearth of clues to her sadistic killer - until he discovers the body of a young boy, cut with symbols in the same way as Rebecca's body had been. Then clues confuse, with elements of witchcraft, religious hatred and the enmities of civil war.
Wayland sets out on a perilous journey to find the killer, taking with him his son Jonathan and Alun, a canny baker. But just as they find their suspect, they are trapped in the vicioua Siege of Colchester, facing ever more dangerous challenges. Wayland, Alun and Jonathan must draw on all their strengths, devise new strategies and make agonising decisions, if they are to stay alive and find the real killer before he strikes again.