"Though he is one of England's most acclaimed intellectuals, John Gower is no stranger to London's wretched slums and dark corners, and he knows how to trade on the secrets of the kingdom's most powerful men. When the bodies of sixteen unknown men are found in a privy, the Sheriff of London seeks Gower's help. The men's wounds--ragged holes created by an unknown object--are unlike anything the sheriff's men have ever seen. Tossed into the sewer, the bodies were meant to be found. Gower believes the men may have been used in an experiment--a test for a fearsome new war weapon his informants call the "handgonne," claiming it will be the "future of death" if its design can be perfected. Propelled by questions of his own, Gower turns to courtier and civil servant Geoffrey Chaucer, who is working on some poems about pilgrims that Gower finds rather vulgar. Chaucer thinks he just may know who commissioned this new weapon, an extremely valuable piece of information that some will pay a high price for--and others will kill to conceal" --… (more)
All her mind was on defending what she had, the people she loved, the place she lived, her virtue and the very sanctity of her flesh, and in her silken arms she cradled the smallest gun the world would ever know.