The year is 1663 and Thomas Chaloner a member of the King's intelligence service returns to London from Ireland, after assisting in thwarting a planned revolt in Dublin. Chaloner realises that feeling in the capital have changed since he left, there is a taste of rebellion in the London air. While investigating the shooting of a supposed beggar during a royal event, Chaloner discovers that far from being a beggar the man has links to the Company of Barber-Surgeons.
Meanwhile is master, the Earl of Clarendon is involved in a feud with the Earl of Bristol and to cap it all an innocent man is about to take the long drop in Newgate prison. Chaloner has his work cut out trying to protect Clarendon, discover who murdered the supposed vagrant and try to save an innocent man from the executioner.
The author's books are always so well researched and her characters endearing to the reader. This all helps to make her books both interesting, appealing and a joy to anyone interested in good historical fiction writing.