In the swell of a storm, a ship is wrecked in St Andrews harbour. A young Flemish sailor, the last man aboard, collapses and dies at the inn. The cargo of the ship appears a welcome windfall but soon brings devastation to the town as petty squabbling turns to rage and tragedy. Hew traces the ship to its source in Ghent, where he uncovers a strange secret. Unwilling to allow the law to take its course, he returns once more to the bitter role of advocate, to find his deepest principles are tested to the core.