In 1592, Sir Robert Carey, a handsome courtier, comes north to Carlisle to take up his new post as Deputy Warden of the West March. He has wangled his appointment to be nearer his true love, a married woman, and far from the gimlet eyes of his creditors and the disapproving eye of his father.
Sir Robert is quick to realize he won't see any perks from the job if he fails to keep the peace. Alas, he is quickly challenged by the murder of a local lad, the possible betrayal of a disappointed rival, the ire of the lady's husband, and the question of the horses – the hundreds of horses being stolen from all over the neighborhood. It's hard to say whether the greater danger lies without the city walls amidst the scheming Scots – or within, amidst the unruly English garrison.