Author(s): Shona MacLean
Aberdeen, 1631. University librarian Robert Sim takes receipt of a gift of books recently arrived from overseas, mysterious works on alchemy and hermetics - the pursuit of ancient knowledge. By nightfall he has been brutally murdered. His colleague and good friend Alexander Seaton is left with the task of hunting for clues as to his killer's motive, as well as locating the missing books. What did Sim discover in the package, and what makes these books so dangerous? Crucible is a fantastic historical thriller that imagines deep-rooted deceptions and a secret whose revelation spells danger for anyone who comes close.
'... a puzzler of intrigue, politics and religion, particularly the growing fascination with mysterious brotherhoods' Time Out. 'Admirers of Shona MacLean's earlier novels will not be disappointed by the latest appearance of her Scottish sleuth, Alexander Seaton. Newcomers to the series be warned! You will find yourselves plunged into the claustrophobic society of 17th century Aberdeen, where fear stalks the corridors of academia and student battles besmirch the public beach ... Crucible of Secrets has a satisfying plot, but more importantly it has satisfying characters and a setting that educates as well as entertains. Alexander Seaton is well served' Shotsmag. 'an ingenious plot involving freemasonry, Rosicrucianism and the adventures of Scottish students on the Continent to explain the killing' Sunday Times. 'Seaton is a compellingly flawed yet indomitable figure who inspires our respect, pity and empathy in equal measure ... Crucible of Secrets is a yarn that romps along at breakneck speed ... What is perhaps more admirable is her ability to paint effervescently vivid historical pictures that immediately bring the period to life' Scottish Field. 'The period detail is excellent; the Aberdeen of the time is richly imagined, and the dialogue is terrifically subtle. The characterisation too is accomplished with both major and minor characters clearly and enjoyably distinct' Historical Novels Review.
S.G. MacLean has a PhD in history from Aberdeen University, specializing in sixteenth and seventeenth century Scottish history. She was encouraged to write by her late uncle, Alistair MacLean. She lives in Conon Bridge, Scotland with her husband and four children. Crucible, her third novel, follows two highly acclaimed historical thrillers, The Redemption of Alexander Seaton and A Game of Sorrows.