Two hundred years after the Salem witch trials, in the summer of 1892, a grisly new witch hunt is beginning...
When newly appointed Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork. He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch.
Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey. Distrusted by officials because of his mixed Abenaki Indian ancestry, Grey is even more notorious for combining modern investigative techniques with an almost eerie perceptiveness. Although skeptical of each other's methods, together the detectives pursue the killer's trail through postmortems and opium dens, into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England.
Before the killer closes in on his final victim, Lean and Grey must decipher the secret pattern to these murders - a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials.
Kieran Shields's novel, The Truth of All Things, is one literary fusion that's a real treat for readers. It is hard to neatly categorize this novel, and I think to do so would be to miss out on the riches of Shields's storytelling. At once a literary novel and a work of historical fiction, this book is also equal parts great mystery and page-turning gothic-thriller. (Reviewed by Jennifer Dawson Oakes).
Beautifully written and sprinkled with historical data… Shields, who is a native of Portland [Maine], offers meticulous research into the city's history in this heart-pounding suspense that should delight any lover of period mysteries.
Starred Review. Both the detailed historical information and the intricate mystery hold your attention to the last page in Shields' startling debut.
Starred Review. Strong characters and a nicely convoluted, intelligent plot bode well for any sequel.
Katherine Howe, New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Kieran Shields has written a knuckle biting gothic mystery of ritual murder, revenge, and the harrowing heritage of witchcraft in New England. Readers will love exploring Shields' world of the eerie faces of nineteenth century Maine, from temperance societies to historical societies to whorehouses and everything in between. This rollicking tale puts an entirely new spin on the legacy of the Salem witch trials, and will keep lovers of historical fiction turning pages until the final gripping conclusion.
This story brims with rich detail, the line between right and wrong smudged beyond recognition. What a unique and claustrophobic world - Maine at the turn of the 20th century - but the ties to an unspeakable past are haunting and unmistakable. It's a delight from start to finish. A terrific story, told terrifically.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Diane S. The Truth of All Things Definitely held my interest, since I haven't stopped reading it since I picked it up. Set in 1892, in Portland, a prostitute is murdered and a newly appointed detective and a half Abenaki Indian profiler must team together to solve the case. New... Read More
One of the main characters in Kieran Shield's The Truth of All Things, Perceval Grey, is of Abenaki descent, a key point in the novel. The Abenaki (ah-buh-nah-kee) tribe is one of the many distinct tribes that make up the larger Algonquian (al-GON-kee-un) Nation of North America. (It is important to note that the Algonquian Nation, should not be confused with the smaller Algonquin Tribe.) The Abenaki people are native to the New England region of the United States, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Maine; as well as Eastern Canada: Eastern Quebec, New Brunswick, the Canadian Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. They call this region Wobanakik or "Place of the Dawn."
The Abenaki people group themselves into smaller, more localized subdivisions.
It is 1925 and the New Hampshire town of Garner's economic prospects are in decline.
A group of
young, wealthy New Yorkers arrive for summer leisure, but when the body of a
spirited, illusive girl is found in the stream this deeply
private community begins to unravel.
Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. The Heretic's Daughter tells her story; a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.
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