Oxford, Spring 1353. When young bookseller Nicholas Elyot discovers the body of William Farringdon floating in the River Cherwell, all the signs point to suicide. Soon, however, Nicholas discovers evidence of murder. Who could have wanted to kill this promising student? As Nicholas and his close friend Jordain try to unravel what lies behind William's death, they learn that he was innocently caught up in a criminal plot. When their investigations begin to involve town, university, and abbey, Nicholas takes a risky gamble - and puts his family in terrible danger in order to uncover the truth.