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...
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.
Apart from the fact that the reconstitution of the crime for
oneself is the only effective method, it is the only interesting
one, the only one that stimulates the inquirer and keeps him
awake at his work.
Dr . Hans Gross,
At the sound of footsteps in the alley, Maggie Keene dimmed the gas
lamp and sidled up to the room's only window. She eased the curtains
aside, her fingers barely touching the paper-thin material for fear
it might tear and crumble. The gap between two neighboring tenement
houses allowed a slice of moonlight to pierce the narrow passageway
below. A man in a brown derby hurried past, stepping over the remains
of a smashed crate. The splintered boards lay scattered on the ground
like animal bones bleached a ghastly white by long exposure.
Maggie cupped a hand against the glass and peered in the other direction. There was still no sign of John. Her eyes drifted past the lights of the Grand Trunk Railway Station, down toward ...
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).
Full Review (827 words).
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...
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A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history - the Salem witch trials.
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