July, 1586. Sir Francis Walsingham has despatched Kit Marlowe to the English College, the school for exiled priests in Rheims, where he suspects the Catholic traitor Matthew Baxter is hiding, the only one of the Babington plotters to have escaped the spymaster's net. Infiltrating the college undercover, Marlowe learns that the community has been rocked by a series of unexplained and violent deaths. A scholar has fallen from a window under mysterious circumstances; the popular Father Laurenticus has been discovered dead in his bed, his throat slit from ear to ear. With the help of master codebreaker Thomas Phelippes, can Christopher Marlowe unearth a murderer, track down a traitor and extract himself from the scorpion's nest without being fatally stung?