In the hot summer of 1549- two years after the death of the tyrant Henry VIII, the teenage Edward VI sits on the throne with his uncle Lord Protector of England, Edward Seymour ruling on his behalf. The hunchbacked London lawyer Matthew Shardlake is summoned by the Lady Elizabeth to attend the trial in Norwich of a relative who has been accused of a brutal murder. Shardlake accompanied by his hot headed understudy Nicholas is reunited with his loyal friend Jack Barak in a perilous quest to uncover the true perpetrator of the shocking crime. Meanwhile crop failure, corruption, injustice, fanatical religious persecution and a disastrous war with Scotland boils over in a peasant revolt led by Robert Kett. Shardlake and friends find themselves in over their heads captive to Kett's idealistic rebels as the army of the Earl of Warwick bears down on Norwich to unleash a terrible retribution.