1603. Former ship's surgeon Gabriel Taverner is attempting to re-establish himself as a physician in rural Devon but it's not easy to gain the locals' trust and a series of disturbing incidents convinces him that at least one person does not welcome his presence.
Called out to examine a partially decomposed body found beside the river, Gabriel discovers he has a personal connection to the dead man. Teaming up with coroner Theophilus Davey to find out how the man died, Gabriel uncovers some darker aspects of the lucrative silk trade which operates from nearby Plymouth. It soon becomes frighteningly apparent that the people closest to him have been keeping dangerous secrets.
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