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The Earl of Chester is enraged when his hawk is killed by an arrow in the Forest of Delamere. When two poachers are caught nearby, he orders their immediate execution. Ralph Delchard and Gervase Bret arrive in Cheshire to settle a series of land disputes brought to light during the compilation of the Domesday book. Then a body is found in the forest, shot by an arrow, and it is clear the earl may have dispensed justice a little too hastily. Delchard and Bret are determined to unmask the killer before they can take deadly aim again.