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Summary and book reviews of Legacy of The Dead by Charles Todd

Legacy of The Dead

by Charles Todd

Legacy of The Dead
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2000, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2001, 320 pages

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Book Summary

A survivor of World War I, Rutledge is a man walking on the edge of insanity, finding both relief and more madness in his work as a Scotland Yard investigator. Now he must visit the one place that most threatens the balance of his mind: his past.

In Ian Rutledge, Charles Todd has created a classic literary figure. A survivor of World War I, Rutledge is a man walking on the edge of insanity, finding both relief and more madness in his work as a Scotland Yard investigator. Now this series, praised by The New York Times Book Review for "challenging plot, complex characters, and subtle psychological insights [wrapped] in thick layers of atmosphere," takes Rutledge to the one place that most threatens the balance of his mind: his past.

Legacy Of The Dead

Rutledge's superior dispatches him to Durham to question the mother of a missing young woman. The weathered remains found on a windswept Scottish mountainside may be those of Eleanor Gray, but the imperious Lady Maude Gray will have to be handled delicately. This is not the only ground that Rutledge must tread carefully. The case will more than likely lead him on to Scotland, where many of Rutledge's ghosts rest uneasily. Scotland was the homeland of many of the young soldiers Rutledge led into battle--and, for far too many of them, to their deaths. And of Corporal Hamish MacLeod, the Highlander he shot for breaking on the battlefield. It is Hamish's voice, caustic and accusing, that haunts his waking moments and assesses his every action. Rutledge knows that in the Scottish countryside he will hear echoes of that condemning voice everywhere he turns. But he cannot know what else he will encounter as he follows the trail of Eleanor Gray's last movements. In the village of Duncarrick he will find a young mother who has been destroyed by a malicious campaign of gossip carried by anonymous letters. Now Fiona MacDonald stands accused of murdering the woman on that rugged mountain--and of taking the child of her victim to raise as her own. Rutledge owes this woman a terrible debt, driving him on a harrowing journey to find the truth--leading him back through the fires of his past, and into secrets that still have the power to kill. Legacy of the Dead is a breathtaking, riveting mystery set in a fascinating landscape at the wary dawn of a new age. In Scotland, Charles Todd captures a land where war and bloodshed are part of the earth, the walls, and living memory. And where a man like Ian Rutledge is all too much at home.

1916
Glasgow

The two women sat huddled together in the small carriage, looking around them in dismay, staring at the filthy, closed-in street, the drunken old man sprawled in one of the doorways, the tall tenements ugly and bleak and perilously ill-kept. There was no grace here, only an air of despondency and gloom and poverty.

"It's a horrible place!" one said at last. She was the elder, but not by much. They were both young and very frightened.

"Are you quite sure this is the street we want? I can't believe--" Her companion, the reins lying in her lap, let the words die.

In answer, the passenger dug in her purse for the tattered piece of paper, pulled it out, and read it again. Her lips were trembling, and she felt cold, sick. "Look for yourself. Oh--" The paper slipped from her fingers, and she caught it just before it tumbled into the fetid running gutter beneath the wheel.

It was the street and the house they had searched over an hour to find.

There ...

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Littell's sharp images, breathless chases and nasty double-crossers please as ever, but the splintered narrative suffers from a central identity crisis that blurs the focus and slows the pace.

Kirkus Reviews

[A] richly tangled mystery, which continues to borrow its storytelling conventions from the 1919 period of its setting.

Library Journal

A sensitive approach, literate prose, and provocative situations mark Todd's latest addition to his Ian Rutledge series..... Very forceful emotional scenes ensue as Ian ferrets out the truth. A special treat for series and historical fans.

Library Journal

A sensitive approach, literate prose, and provocative situations mark Todd's latest addition to his Ian Rutledge series..... Very forceful emotional scenes ensue as Ian ferrets out the truth. A special treat for series and historical fans.

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