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When murder strikes close to home, Dr Ruth Galloway is determined to find justice - without ending up in the firing line herself.
'One of the most cinematic finales in recent crime fiction' Daily Telegraph
Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, spends a lot of time looking at death. But now death has found her, with the news that her long-time friend and ex-colleague Dan Golding has been killed in a house fire.
Ruth's grief soon turns to suspicion of arson when she receives a desperate letter from Dan, sent the day before he died. He had made a ground-breaking discovery that he was sure would change archaeology forever - and was petrified of the consequences.
Ruth feels compelled to travel north to investigate further, alongside DCI Harry Nelson who is also drawn into the case. But where Ruth goes, so does her young daughter, Kate. This time, the risks are even higher.
Old bones and Anglo-Saxon culture combine with fresh murder and contemporary hate groups in Griffiths's intricately plotted fifth Ruth Galloway mystery (after 2012's A Room Full of Bones). Ruth, a forensic archeologist and teacher, learns of the death by fire of a college friend and colleague, Dan Golding, the day before receiving a letter from Dan requesting her professional opinion. Dan has excavated the bones of a "Raven King," who may be Arthur Pendragon. Single mother Ruth, along with her toddler daughter, Kate, and various others, including Kate's father, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, all take summer holiday trips to the vicinity of the site of the murder and dig, where they encounter a host of suspect fellow academics and locals, including someone who sends Ruth warning text messages. Puzzle solvers may find the clues too subtle, but all will enjoy Ruth's largely self-aware sardonic perspective on life, death, and relationships.