England in the 1630's: a difficult country in turbulent times. John Brigges is a governor a man who has kept away from intrigues to work on his farm and be with his wife, now expecting their first child. He is also - secretly - a Catholic. When he is called to settle the murder of a new-born child, Brigges finds himself drawn into matters he wants to avoid. Katherine Shay, an Irishwoman is accused of killing her baby. Brigges wants to wait for more evidence. The ascendant puritan faction, however, demand her immediate hanging. Brigges suspects their haste has little to do with their talk of justice. What are they hiding? And does he really want to know? In the background, a rebellion is brewing. Only Brigges - and his investigation - can change the tide. Torn between home and the world, haunted by the mystery of Katharine Shay he must finally make a stand.
Ronan Bennett was brought up in Belfast. He is the author of three books, most recently the hugely acclaimed The Catastrophist (shortlisted for the 1998 Whitbread Novel Award). He has also written screenplays for film and television. Ronan Bennett lives in London with his family.