It is 1635, and a recruiting ship levying soldiers for service in the army of Queen Christina of Sweden is lying at anchor off Aberdeen harbour. Parents of students in the local colleges are in a state of heightened anxiety that their sons will be enticed aboard. Alexander Seaton and his fellow regents of Marischal College make nightly patrols of the town’s inns looking out for any students at risk.
The day after the ship first docks, two students are reported missing from King’s College in the old town. The next morning, one of the boys, Hugh Gunn, appears back in King’s College, drenched, badly beaten and unable to remember anything of the previous 36 hours.
Here begins the search for a missing boy and a terrifying scramble to protect those who remain at risk. A quest that sees Alexander question everything he once believed in and every friendship he once held dear…
"This is a gripping tale that involves the reader ever more deeply, particularly when it appears that some ghosts from Seaton’s own past return to haunt him." - Good Book Guide
"A fine thriller written with... intricate plotting that keeps the reader guessing right until the very end." - Scottish Field
"In this historical crime thriller, MacLean pulls off her usual trick of blending impeccable historical research of a turbulent era in Scotland with a keen eye for the colourful details of everyday life that open a door through time." - Inverness Courier
"MacLean is a natural writer and a natural historian too." - Morning Star
"MacLean's portrayal of 17th-century Scotland is masterful, and she brings the bitter religious tensions vividly to life." - Historical Novel Society