In the fifth in this stellar series Hildegard returns from pilgrimage to Compostela only to be sent by her Prioress to the remote and sinister Handale Priory. Used as a house of correction for sinning nuns, it lies in the north of the county in the middle of a vast wood and is run by the ambiguous Abbess Basilda and her close group of hard-faced acolytes. Hildegard discovers the corpse of a young man in the morgue and is told that the dragon of Handale has killed him. But Hildegard does not believe in dragons. Warned against walking in the woods sherefuses to be penned in like a prisoner and discovers a secret tower, locked and barred, with armed men on guard. What is so valuable that it needs a guard? Has it anything to do with the mystery of the young man’s death? And why have assassins been pursuing the King’s courier across the savage moorlandonly to murder him at a lonely wayside tavern? Hildegard risks all dangers to seek out the truth.

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