Author(s): S. G. MacLean
Is the young man merely drunk or does his tottering walk suggest something more sinister? When he collapses in front of two sisters on that dark, wet night, they guess rightly that he's been murdered by poisoning. So begins this tale set in the town of Banff, Scotland in the 1620s.
Such is the quality of the recreation, not only of the reeking ebb and flow of everyday life, but also of the period mindset that it's easy to believe that Satan is walking abroad. This is an accomplished and thought-provoking debut - Guardian. This could be the premise for a contemporary crime thriller - except that the novel is set in the 1620's and steeped in the history of that period - Scotland on Sunday.
Shona MacLean is in her early 40s and has a PhD in history from Aberdeen University, specialising in 16th and 17th century Scottish history. She was encouraged to write by her late uncle, the author Alistair MacLean. She lives in Banff with her husband and four children. This is her first novel.