It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, the monasteries are to be dissolved. But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's Commissioner Robin Singleton, has been found beheaded. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege - a black cockerel sacrificed on the altar, and the disappearance of Scarnsea's Great Relic.