"In the past he had been seated on the judge's bench looking towards the dock in which he now stood... He turned and faced the clerk, who asked a fourth time: 'How say you? Are you Guilty or Not Guilty?' Jonathan Playfair, Knight of the Realm, sometime Judge of the High Court, is standing trial for the murder of David Trelawney. The two once fought side by side in the mountains of North Africa, and the death of David 50 years later unearths the tainted details of their past together. While the Prosecutor tells the court of Trelawney's death, Jonathan is far away-in the recesses of his mind where memories from North Africa, long buried, pierce and consume him; where he cannot escape having witnessed another man's death in this dark Africa of 50 years past."