Second historical thriller in the Alexander Seaton series sweeps the hero back to his roots in Ulster, and a family living under a curse and riven with long-held secrets
Alexander Seaton's happily settled life as a university teacher is shattered by the arrival in town of a stranger who looks like his twin and who carries a plea for help from Alexander's dead mother's family in Ireland. The family has been placed under a poet's curse, threatening death to various members. Elements of the curse have already begun to play out.
Reluctantly answering the call, Seaton travels to Ulster, to find himself among a family torn apart by secrets and deep resentments.
As he seeks out the author of the curse, he becomes deeply entangled in a conflict that involves fugitive priests, displaced poets, rebellious plotters and agents of the king. Confronted by murder within his family, he finds the lines between superstition and faith, duty and loyalty are becoming increasingly blurred, while his Scottish homeland grows ever more remote.
Pacy and literate. 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 Satan is walking abroad ... accomplished and thought-provoking - Guardian
Richly laden with historical detail but MacLean wears her scholarship lightly. Flashes of humour ensure that the sympathy remains with Seaton, an entertaining narrator. An absorbing foray into Scottish history - Times Literary Supplement
The vivid evocation of a particular time and place by an author whose uncle was Alistair MacLean and who is herself a historian specialising in 16th and 17th century Scotland. She has used her gifts to the full to create a truly memorable and exciting read - Historical Novels Review
S.G. MacLean has a PhD in history from Aberdeen University, specializing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Scottish history. She has written four highly acclaimed historical thrillers set in Scotland, The Redemption of Alexander Seaton (shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger), A Game of Sorrows, Crucible of Secrets and The Devil's Recruit, and a series of historical thrillers set in Oliver Cromwell's London. The first and third books in the series, The Seeker and Destroying Angel, have won the CWA Historical Dagger and the second, The Black Friar, was longlisted for the same award. S.G. MacLean is married with four children and lives in Conon Bridge, Scotland. Follow her on Instagram @iwritemybike2