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Through multiple perspectives, Beahrs (Strange Saint) vividly depicts Jacobean England in his second historical. After a brief prologue set in the Virginia colony in 1621, the first narrator, Sarah, flashes back to the events that caused her to flee the Old World. When vagabonds descend on Sarah's village, Sarah clashes with their leader, the cruel Sam Ridley, who had abused a sin-eater, a man down on his luck or short of wits, paid to symbolically assume the transgressions of the community's most recent dead. Her retribution sets Ridley on her trail. Mary, a refugee from an unhappy marriage, soon joins Sarah and Bill, another sin-eater that Ridley has targeted, on their travels. While the ultimate showdown with Ridley and its resolution will surprise few readers, the author convincingly presents the main characters' inner lives in a manner that calls to mind Iain Pears's classic An Instance of the Fingerposts. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.