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Ireland, AD 671. King Colg of Cashel is shocked to learn that his loyal Chief Bishop and advisor has been murdered in the old enemy fortress of the U Fidgente. When word reaches Cashel that the culprit will be executed under new law, a larger conflict looms.
Dispatched to investigate, Fidelma and her companion Eadulf discover that the man facing punishment is Gorm n--commander of the King's bodyguard. But Fidelma cannot believe Gorm n would carry out such an act--and yet he was found locked in a chamber with the body, weapon in hand. The evidence is stacked against him.
If they are to exonerate Gorm n and keep the peace between the kingdoms, Fidelma and Eadulf must find the true culprit. As the threat of war looms, the date of execution drawers ever closer...