Christmas, 1192. With the barons' support Richard's brother, Count John, has finally triumphed over the greedy, ambitious Chancellor William Longchamp. Men and women are starting to return from King Richard's Crusade. King Richard is not among them, and no one knows where he is. There are rumours of a shipwreck. Richard's chosen heir, his nephew Arthur of Brittany, is a 5-year-old boy. All eyes turn to see what Count John will do.
Traders from as far as Arabia and Africa wonder if London will be safe if a civil war erupts. Already Count John's campaign against the Chancellor has seen a siege of the White Tower in London. The winter is cold. Barons, knights and peasants of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire shutter their windows and stoke their fires against the cold and dark, for the night is the province of miscreants, demons and revenants.