The award-winning and Number One bestselling Val McDermid crafts an electrifying psychological suspense thriller that mixes history, heritage and heinous crimes.
A 200 year-old-secret is now a matter of life and death.
And it could be worth a fortune.
It's summer in the Lake District and heavy rain over the fells has uncovered a bizarrely tattooed body. Could it be linked to the old rumour that Fletcher Christian, mutinous First Mate on the Bounty, had secretly returned to England?
Scholar Jane Gresham wants to find out. She believes that the Lakeland poet William Wordsworth, a friend of Christian's, may have sheltered the fugitive and turned his tale into an epic poem – which has since disappeared.
But as she follows each lead, death is hard on her heels. The centuries-old mystery is putting lives at risk. And it isn't just the truth that is waiting to be discovered, but a bounty worth millions …
‘An irresistible combination of contemporary psychological thriller and historical mystery' Tess Gerritsen
‘Cunning and gripping… A substantially entertaining novel which grips the reader’s interest from the first page until the final deeply satisfying sentence’ Express
‘Trying to solve a 200-year-old mystery becomes increasingly lethal and readable' Mirror
‘One of the world’s leading mystery writers…Thomas Harris crossed with Agatha Christie, if you will… A great read. England’s heritage history has never been so chilling’ Observer
‘Safe for the squeamish… one of her best’ Literary Review
About the author
Val McDermid grew up in a Scottish mining community then read English at Oxford. She was a journalist for sixteen years, spending the last three years as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid. Now a full-time writer, she divides her time between Cheshire and Northumberland. Her novels have won international acclaim and a number of prestigious awards, including the Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year, the Anthony Award for best novel, and the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year Award. Her thriller series featuring criminal profiler Tony Hill has been adapted into the much-loved TV series Wire in the Blood.
An intriguing, 200-year-old mystery propels this multilayered stand-alone from British author McDermid set in England's Lake District. Scholar Jane Gresham pursues her theory that HMS Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian returned secretly from exile to his homeland in the late 18th century. A shriveled body found in a bog seems to bear resemblance to this dashing hero, right down to the South Sea tattoos that blacken his buttocks. Jane searches relentlessly for a lost manuscript by the poet Wordsworth that relates Christian's tale in tantalizing excerpts between chapters. Various subplots complicate her quest, including a fraught friendship with precocious 13-year-old Tenille, a lonely, mixed-race girl who also loves Romantic poetry. With a feminist, socially conscious spin, McDermid (The Distant Echo) vividly contrasts marginal subsistence in London's dismal Marshpool neighborhood with the Lake District's bucolic lifestyle. Boasting blurbs from such notable authors as Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen and Joseph Finder, this could be McDermid's break-out book. 100,000 printing; author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Not her best
Slow to start, good in the middle and then it gets out of hand as the leading protagonists do more and more incredible stuff. Disappointing.