In his seventh chronicle Brother Cadfael is sure that the young man who seeks sanctuary in Shrewsbury Abbey is innocent of the charge of murder laid against him.
In the gentle Shrewsbury spring of 1140 the midnight matins at the Benedictine abbey suddenly reverberates with an unholy sound - a hunt in full cry. Pursued by a drunken mob, the quarry is running for its life. When the frantic creature bursts into the nave to claim sanctuary, Brother Cadfael finds himself fighting off armed townsmen to save a terrified young man.
Accused of robbery and murder is Liliwin, a wandering minstrel who performed at the wedding of the local goldsmith's son. But his supposed victim, the miserly craftsman, is still alive, although a strongbox lies empty.
Brother Cadfael believes that Liliwin is innocent, but finding the truth and the treasure before Liliwin's respite in sanctuary runs out may uncover a deadlier sin than thievery - a desperate love that nothing, not even the threat of hanging, can stop.