The Ninth Child
‘WONDERFUL. ONE NEVER MESSES WITH THE FAERIES’ Melanie Reid, The Times
‘AN ABSOLUTE TRIUMPH’ Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus
‘EXTRAORDINARILY VIVID’ Michelle Gallen, author of Big Girl Small Town
A spellbinding novel combining Scottish folklore with hidden history, by the Sunday Times bestselling author Sally Magnusson.
Loch Katrine waterworks, 1856. A Highland wilderness fast becoming an industrial wasteland. No place for a lady.
Isabel Aird is aghast when her husband is appointed doctor to an extraordinary waterworks being built miles from the city. But Isabel, denied the motherhood role that is expected of her by a succession of miscarriages, finds unexpected consolations in a place where she can feel the presence of her unborn children and begin to work out what her life in Victorian society is for.
The hills echo with the gunpowder blasts of hundreds of navvies tunnelling day and night to bring clean water to diseased Glasgow thirty miles away – digging so deep that there are those who worry they are disturbing the land of faery itself. Here, just inside the Highland line, the membrane between the modern world and the ancient unseen places is very thin.
With new life quickening within her again, Isabel can only wait. But a darker presence has also emerged from the gunpowder smoke. And he is waiting too.
Inspired by the mysterious death of the seventeenth-century minister Robert Kirke and set in a pivotal era two centuries later when engineering innovation flourished but women did not, The Ninth Child blends folklore with historical realism in a spellbinding narrative.
*PRAISE FOR THE SEALWOMAN’S GIFT*
‘I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure’ Sarah Perry
‘An extraordinarily immersive read’ Guardian
‘Richly imagined and energetically told’ Sunday Times
‘A brilliant tour-de-fource’ Alistair Moffat
‘An epic journey’ Zoe Ball Book Club
A compassionate story of the clashing cultures of science and superstition, of male and female, rich and poor * Anne Goodwin Weekly * Entertaining, educational and thought-provoking, The Ninth Child is pacy and accomplished, with particular skill in capturing the supernatural chill attached to some of Scotland's most picturesque sights * Press Assocation * Well-researched, fascinating . . . a strong sense of place . . . an accomplished piece of writing, cementing Magnusson's place, not just as one of Scotland's best-loved broadcasters, but one of Scotland's leading writers of historical fiction * Scotland on Sunday * Enthralling * Scots Magazine * Pacy and accomplished, with a supernatural chill * The Herald * This eerie tale blends Scottish folklore with historical fiction * i * An engaging mix of folklore and Victorian history * Sunday Times * Not only did the book transport me while I read, but when I slept my dreams were extraordinarily vivid - I dreamt I was roaming in the highlands, smelling fresh air, feeling sunlight - far from my hospital bed. Few books have this impact on me. * Michelle Gallen, author of BIG GIRL SMALL TOWN * Sally Magnusson's classy new novel The Ninth Child has snared me . . . Suffice to say I'm hooked, and I'm only on page 50. It's wonderful and I daren't stop. One never messes with the faeries. * Melanie Reid, THE TIMES *
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