On a storm-driven night, wreckers deliberately drive a helpless merchant ship on a rocky shore. Abbess Faife is slaughtered, and her six young companions are abducted. An ageing scholar is murdered in the Abbey of Ard Fhearta. Do these bizarre events have a connection? Sister Fidelma and her companion, Brother Eadulf, are asked to go to Ard Fhearta to examine the mystery at the request of Abbess Faife's nephew. Who is the mysterious master of souls? Is Uaman the Leper the shadowy master spreading death and corruption across the land? Or is the bombastic chieftain Slebene playing some malevolent power game of his own?