Ellis Portal, disgraced former judge has made a comeback and is readmitted to the practice of law. But within moments of a ceremony opening the courts, Ellis watches in horror as his former classmate and arch enemy, Supreme Court Justice John Stoughton-Melville, is led off in handcuffs, charged with murder. Ellis is tricked into serving as Stoughton-Melville's defense attorney. To refuse would jeopardize his renewed life in the law. To accept would pit him against the court, his family, and the one man capable of taking away all that Ellis has so painfully regained.

"Rosemary Aubert has a touch of the poet."
Washington Post

"I'd been a judge myself the first time I'd felt the cold steel bands of the law around my own wrists. Still, I was shocked to see Stow arrested. I experienced that curious slowing of time that happens when some life-altering occurrence plays itself out before one's eyes. I saw Stow's shoulders stiffen. Even beneath the absurd red robe with its white fur-trimmed cape, the muscles of his back became visibly rigid. Years on the bench-and on the skids, too-had taught me the difference between a man who stands up straight when he faces defeat and one who slumps. Stow did not slump."