Ralph Delchard, a former soldier in the notorious Battle of Hastings, and Gervase Bret, a skilled lawyer, continue to travel the length of England examining issues raised during the collection of information for the Domesday Book, the great survey of the country commissioned by William the Conqueror. The pair frequently discover that where matters of property are concerned, there are often dangerous and violent consequences. The king's work is a dangerous business. A wealthy Yorkshire merchant enjoys the security of his castle, guarded as it is by his pet lions. When the beasts literally make a meal of an anonymous young man attempting to gain entry, Delchard and Bret wonder why anyone would make such a suicidal effort. Despite their mission, they cannot help but delve into exactly what was at stake.