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In the summer of 1143, two important visitors arrive at the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul one dead, one very much alive-and set to wreak havoc within the tiny Benedictine Community. William of Lythwood, the visitor in the coffin, has come to be buried in the Abbey's grounds, and it is the dedicated mission of his attendant Elave to carry out his master's final wish. But Gerbert, the mighty prelate and guest of the Benedictines, remembers that William had been reproved for heretical views, and so tries to block Elave's plea. When a violent death ensues, Brother Cadfael is called once again from his herb garden to turn detective and solve the murder - but matters are complicated still further by the marvelous treasure box in Elave's care. . . "