The serenity of Hawkenlye Abbey has been disturbed by the arrival of a new nun and her two young sisters. Recently orphaned, Alba has left her convent in Ely to take her grieving sisters from the scene of their sorrow. Abbess Helewise is not convinced of her selflessness--Sister Alba is a mean-spirited and turbulent presence. Her anxieties grow when her friend Josse d'Acquin is brought to Hawkenlye, half-dead from blood poisoning. Then a body is discovered, and one of the sisters goes missing. In order to discover the truth behind Alba's flight to Hawkenlye, Helewise sets off for Ely, where she uncovers a clever and chilling network of lies.