When tragedy repeatedly strikes brilliant and hitherto fortunate Will Bellman, he is drawn into a complex reckoning born of a thoughtless childhood act-- the casual slaying of a rook. An alchemical combination of down-to-earth storytelling and compelling magical realism. In brilliantly crafted prose, Setterfield lays out a story not quite mystery, not quite fantasy, but a literary combination of both.— Ty
November 2013 Indie Next List
“A stone thrown, a bird killed - this single thoughtless act committed as a boy will shadow William Bellman for the rest of his life. Setterfield's atmospheric new novel follows William's seemingly charmed life through successes, marriage, and fatherhood, until the sudden appearance of a stranger in black signals a change in the trajectory of William's good fortune. With echoes of Dickens, Poe, and Grimm, Setterfield's tale offers fascinating historical details even as it raises the hairs on the back of the reader's neck.”
— Kristine Kaufman, The Snow Goose Bookstore, Stanwood, WA
Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a Rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But Rooks don't forget . . .