1361: Orphaned by the Black Death, all John possesses are the tools that belonged to his father, a carpenter, and an uncanny ability to work wood. His travels bring him to Chesterfield, where he finds work erecting the spire of the new church. But no sooner does he begin than the master carpenter is murdered and John himself becomes a suspect. To prove his innocence John must help the coroner in his search for the killer, a quest that brings him up against some powerful enemies in a town where he is still a stranger and friends are few. Chris Nickson brilliantly evokes the feeling of time and place in this story of corruption and murder.