It is late in the fourteenth century, a time of calamity such as few others have been, marked by war, plague and fear of hell-fire. Nicholas Barber, a footloose young cleric, has left his diocese without his Bishop’s leave. He has sung in taverns, he has gambled away his holy relics, he has committed adultery. Now, to compound his sins, he has joined a troupe of travelling players, a thing expressly forbidden to members of the clergy. Trouble enough, but nothing compared to what happens when the company decides to enact the murder of the young boy called Thomas Wells.