This is a series centred around the fictional Benedictine monastery of St Alcuin's, in Yorkshire, and set in the fourteenth century. At the start of the first novel Father Peregrine is appointed Abbot, at the age of 45. Father Peregrine, whose name in religion is Columba, is an arrogant, impatient man, a hawk trying hard to be a dove, whose struggles to manifest the character he considers to be expected of an abbot provide much of the narrative. He is surrounded by a company of flawed, human monks who are for the most part also serious about their calling, and who again for the most part come to love their driven and hard-driving leader. They lived six centuries ago, yet their struggles are our own finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people; and discovering that we are the impossible ones.