January AD 1193.
England lies uneasy, a land without a king.
Two months have passed since King Richard set sail for Acre. Two months and no word. Rumours abound that the king is dead. The Lionheart's mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, prays for his safe return, holding the throne for one son while her other conspires to seize it. Who can she trust?
As a murdered man lies dying on the road to Winchester, he thrusts a blood-stained letter into the hands of a young squire. Justin de Quincy, the bastard-born son of the Bishop of Chester, now holds the key to the fate of the land. In this time of uncertainty he must prove his worth and show himself to be the Queen's Man.