Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312381141, 400pp.
Publication Date: June 9, 2009
Clara Benning, a veterinary surgeon in charge of a wildlife hospital in a small English village, is young and intelligent, but nearly a recluse. Disfigured by a childhood accident, she generally prefers the company of animals to people. But when a local man dies following a supposed snakebite, Clara’s expertise is needed. She’s chilled to learn that the victim’s postmortem shows a higher concentration of venom than could ever be found in a single snake—and that therefore the killer must be human.
Assisted by a soft-spoken neighbor and an eccentric reptile expert, Clara unravels sinister links to an abandoned house, an ancient ritual, and a fifty-year-old tragedy that has left the survivors secretive. But for someone the truth must remain buried in the past—even if they have to kill to keep it there.
Awakening is a disturbing tale of dark secrets and insidious rituals that will have readers unable to stop for a breath until they’ve reach the stunning climax of this extraordinary read from the author of the acclaimed debut novel Sacrifice.
Advance Praise for Awakening
“Page-turning suspense and spectacular snake science . . . Murky, abandoned churches and dark family secrets stretching back a generation lend a compelling gothic sensibility to this story of a woman who awakens to new possibilities.”
Praise for Sacrifice
“This riveting debut novel . . . just might be the page-turner of the summer. . . . It’s been a long time since we’ve devoured a book this length at one sitting. . . . Extraordinary.”
“The plot never loses interest, the setting is beautiful . . . and the characters are well drawn. This is S. J. Bolton’s first book. I hope it’s the first of many.”
—The Charlotte Observer
“Brilliant plot with mythic overtones . . . This promising new talent delivers some profound insights into the eternal nature of evil.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Val McDermid meets Patricia Cornwell on the North Sea.”
—St. Petersburg Times