When Oswald de Lacy returns from a monastery to become the Lord of Somerhill Manor after a plague, he is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman whom the villagers claim was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. "Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Dispatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by the plague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate. He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants. Yet some things never change. Oswald's mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried. Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it--by finding the real murderer--is quite a different matter. Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets, and violent strife. And then the body of another girl is found."-- Front jacket flap.