Amid the throng of hopeful pilgrims flocking to Shrewsbury Abbey on Cripple's Day, a body is found in a leather sack. Brother Cadfael boils the body down to bones searching for clues to the victim's fate.
Cadfael is called upon to bury executed rebel soldiers orders. But the religious ceremony is disrupted when Cadfael counts the deceased and finds one corpse too many. No one is above suspicion as Cadfael hunts for the murderer.