This most satisfying addition to Harrison’s series about Mara, the Lady Judge to three kingdoms, has at its heart the clash between English law and Brehon law. Stephen Gardiner is in Ireland to stir up trouble and to find Irish lords willing to bend the knee to Henry VIII in exchange for titles of nobility. He finds eager listeners among clansmen who are nor familiar with Mara and her grasp of men and laws. Mara has to reassert her authority in the case of a mysterious murder.
Also troubling Mara is the persistent problem of Nuala, her best friends daughter. A competent physician and independently wealthy young women, she is desperately unhappy. The man she loves seems entangled by the pretty blue eyes and curly blond hair of one of Mara’s students.
Mara is able to solve the mystery of a murdered and and see the result of her lack of meddling in affairs of the heart as both problems come to their solution. The problem of English encroachment is put to rest for the time being, but bodes ill for the future.