September 1666. Meeting in the ashes of a devastated London, Christopher Redmayne, an architect with Cavalier instincts, and Jonathan Bale, a Puritan constable, are hardly kindred spirits. Redmayne dedicates himself to rebuilding the city that Bale believes was destroyed by its own inner corruption. The two men are thrown together when they catch thieves who are stealing from the house that Redmayne has designed for Sir Ambrose Northcott. The foul murder of Sir Ambrose joins them again, albeit reluctantly, in a complex and dangerous investigation that takes them through the brothels and gaming houses of Restoration London, right to the heart of the King's court.