The word “sheriff” is a contraction of the term “shire reeve.” In 12th century England, the word “reeve” was used to describe the designated official responsible for keeping the peace throughout a shire. Simon Mannering is the reeve in the shire of the Norman baron, Sir William d’Aubigny, Earl of Arundel. Simon, a man from the lower class, was picked by Sir William to be the reeve after loyal service as his personal valet during the crusades.
Simon deals daily with the problems of the locals, the group he was once part of, who now distrust him because he’s “the lord’s man.” He must also deal with the politics of a master who doesn’t always see eye-to-eye on how the peasants should be managed.
Several deaths occur in the shire that require investigation by Simon. He discovers an intrigue that stretches from his master, Sir William, to the mother superior of the convent that borders his lordship’s lands. The secrets that he uncovers cost many their positions, fortunes and lives.