"The early history of Bristol is obscure. Although archaeological excavation is beginning to shed light on the development of the town, the townsmen left no written records to provide a picture of the political framework, within which the town emerged, nor of how power was mediated in the town". Thompson looks at early records of how Bristol was formed, and what events and factors influenced its early development.
'What follows is a kind of murder mystery, but not a whodunit. The identity of the man who carried out the crime, while indeed a mystery, is probably unknowable and actually unimportant. There is little room for doubt as to the identity of the man who gave him the order. The real mystery lies with the identity of the victim. In attempting to solve the mystery, we shall enter the kaleidoscope of faction and violence that was high politics during the Wars of the Roses, and make the acquaintance of one of fifteenth-century England’s foremost alchemists'.