Exeter, 1195. Renovations at the new school in Smythen Street are disrupted by the discovery of a partially mummified corpse - and Sir John de Wolfe, the county coroner is called to investigate.
Richard de Revelle, founder of the school, immediately tries to blame Nicholas de Arundell, a young outlawed knight living rough on Dartmoor. As Sir John discovers, Nicholas has good reason to bear a grudge against the unscrupulous de Revelle. But is he really a killer? With the victim's identity unknown and the motive a mystery, the murder remains unsolved.
But then comes a second death - and Sir John is forced to track down the 'noble outlaw' in order to find the answers...