The year is 1367, and the people of York are suffering. Not only has the harvest failed, but the plague has returned. In the midst of this, scandal threatens St Leonard's Hospital, which is struggling to stay solvent and has suffered thefts. The deaths of several of its aged residents seems timely, for their care has long exceeded the sums they bequeathed. Rumours start to fly that their deaths were no accident. . . . Owen Archer, already fully occupied helping his wife Lucie, the city's apothecary, deal with the plague, is forced to investigate.