"MacLean manages to combine a fascinating knowledge of the history of the times and actual events with a complex and intricate plot."
Oliver Cromwell is Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and some say as near a king as makes no difference. He has been ruling Britain since 1653 and splits are appearing in the support he receives from the people. Former strong advocates of his rule are now against him. There are rumours of unholy alliances between the supporters of the exiled Charles, the cavaliers, and the disappointed extreme Protestants who are unhappy with Cromwell's adoption of kingly ways. This febrile political atmosphere means that Damien Seeker, enforcer to Thurloe, Cromwell's Chief Secretary, is constantly in demand.
When a body is discovered brutally mauled by what appears to have been a vicious bear, Seeker is called in to investigate. Cromwell has banned the presence of bears in the capital and the cessation of all bearbaiting, so where has the assailant come from. The victim proves to have been a friend of one of Seekers staunch friends. His investigations lead him into plots brewing against Cromwell as well as vile and vicious practices with dogs and bears.
Seeker tracks down the perpetrators of the plots against Cromwell and manages to prevent disaster happening but not without damage to his own person and difficulties with his personal life.