Merthin returns to Kingsbridge alone as his wife and son have both died from the plague. He wants Caris to run off with him, but she refuses knowing that Prior Godwin would hang her as a witch if she were to leave the convent. Sir Ralph also returns, knighted by the King, but he is not well receive by Sir Roland who is still the Earl of Shiring. He is also rejected by Phiippa who sees him as a convicted rapist. Gwenda and Wulfric can barely make ends meet but Ralph refuses to help. The plague comes to the village and many die. Caris tends to the sick but Prior Godwin flees almost immediately with only Sir Thomas Langley staying behind. The plague gives Petranilla a opportunity for revenge.