London, 1813. The decapitation of a wealthy plantation owner at Bloody Bridge draws Sebastian St. Cyr into a macabre and perilous investigation. The discovery near the body of a lead coffin strap bearing the inscription KING CHARLES, 1648 suggests a link between this killing and the beheading of the seventeenth-century monarch. Equally troubling, the victim’s kinship to the current Home Secretary draws the notice of Sebastian’s father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who will exploit any means to pursue his own clandestine ends.
Working with his wife, Hero, Sebastian amasses a list of suspects who range from an eccentric curiosity collector to the brother of a brilliantly observant spinster named Jane Austen.
But as one murder follows another, it is the connection between the victims and ruthless former army officer Lord Oliphant that raises the stakes. Once, Oliphant nearly destroyed Sebastian in a horrific act of betrayal. Now he poses a threat not only to Sebastian but to everything—and everyone—Sebastian holds dear.