In this masterful debut that starts off as a mystery and becomes much more, Tora Hamilton is an outsider at her new home on the rocky, wind-swept Shetland Islands, a hundred miles from the northeastern tip of Scotland. Though her husband grew up here, it's the first time he's been back in twenty years. Digging in the peat on their new property, Tora unearths a human body, at first glance a centuries-old bog body, interesting but not uncommon. But realizing that the body is in fact much newer, that the woman's heart has been cut out and that she was killed within a few days of bearing a child, Tora, herself an obstetrician, becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her—even when the police, her colleagues and eventually her husband warn her against getting involved.
Reading town records and researching local lore, Tora discovers a disturbing link to ancient Shetland legend and uncovers a collection of deep, dark secrets---the kind of secrets worth killing for.
Sacrifice is a bone-chilling, spell-binding debut that will grip readers from its beginning to its startling end.
Set in the Shetland Islands, Bolton's compelling debut pits young obstetrician Tora Hamilton, newly arrived from London, against local Nordic folklore, suspicious islanders and a monstrous but brilliant plot with mythic overtones. While digging a hole in a field for her dead saddle horse, Tora discovers a young woman's corpse, with Viking runes incised in the back and the heart torn from the breast. How long the body has been buried is uncertain, but during the autopsy Tora realizes the victim had recently given birth. Longing for a child of her own, Tora dissects away layer after layer of deceit and deception involving everyone she used to trust, especially her husband, Duncan Guthrie, who grew up on the Shetlands and chose the site of their new home. Though Bolton's operating-theater realities and her characters' powerfully inhuman motivations may jar fainthearted sensibilities, this promising new talent delivers some profound insights into the eternal nature of evil.