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The Book of Killowen
     

The Book of Killowen

4.3 23
by Erin Hart
 

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“Hart combines powerful insights into human nature and pristine prose with history and archeology in her stellar fourth crime novel” (Publishers Weekly) about an ancient volume of philosophical heresy that provides a motive for murder.

After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back

Overview

“Hart combines powerful insights into human nature and pristine prose with history and archeology in her stellar fourth crime novel” (Publishers Weekly) about an ancient volume of philosophical heresy that provides a motive for murder.

After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog?

While on the case, Cormac and Nora lodge at Killowen, a nearby artists’ colony, organic farm, and sanctuary for eccentric souls. Digging deeper into the older crime, they become entangled in high-stakes intrigue encompassing Kavanagh’s death while surrounded by suspects in his ghastly murder. It seems that everyone at Killowen has some secret to protect. Set in modern-day Ireland, The Book of Killowen reveals a new twist on the power of language—and on the eternal mysteries of good and evil.

Editorial Reviews

Jacquelyn Mitchard
Can the arcane science and lore of the Irish "bog people," who often died alone and in agony, be fuel for a mystery that actually does what The Da Vinci Code tried to do? A thousand times yes, if Erin Hart's storytelling witchery is at work. Intelligent, eerie, utterly compelling.
Booklist
"A textured, multifaceted plot that holds the reader from beginning to end. And a high energy,

exciting finale [that] only adds to the pleasure. Another strong entry in an outstanding series."

ILoveaMysteryNewsletter.com
THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN is as much a treasure as the archeological marvels the peat preserves. It leaves the reader satisfied, yet yearning for the next adventure of this likeable pair of sleuths.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Fascinating.... The nature of language and love...winds through Hart's plot in intriguing and surprising ways."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Vivid and compelling.”
Publishers Weekly
Hart combines powerful insights into human nature and pristine prose with history and archeology in her stellar fourth crime novel featuring Irish archeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin (after 2010’s False Mermaid). When the bog-preserved but dismembered and stabbed body of a ninth-century monk is found with the body of Benedict Kavanagh—the host of an intellectual TV chat show who’s been missing for months—in the trunk of a car excavated from a Tipperary bog, Nora and Cormac investigate on the behalf of Ireland’s National Museum. The pair, working in parallel with local detective Stella Cusack, look into landowner Vincent Claffey and the residents of the artists’ colony at Killowen, a tight-knit community of individuals with hidden pasts and strong motivations to protect themselves. Hart teases the reader with hints without telegraphing the solutions to the mysteries a moment too soon. This exploration of the ways people keep secrets, innocuous and terrible, to create sanity out of difficult pasts, offers food for thought that persists beyond the immediate thrill of a well-told tale. Agent: Sally Wofford-Girand, Brickhouse Literary Agents. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Can the arcane science and lore of the Irish "bog people," who often died alone and in agony, be fuel for a mystery that actually does what The Da Vinci Code tried to do? A thousand times yes, if Erin Hart's storytelling witchery is at work. Intelligent, eerie, utterly compelling.

“Hart’s foray into soggy Killowen has a rock-solid foundation of musical language and deft plotting.”

Hart combines powerful insights into human nature andpristine prose with history and archeology in her stellar fourth crime novel… [TheBook of Killowen] offers food for thought that persists beyond theimmediate thrill of a well-told tale.”

"A textured, multifaceted plot that holds the reader from beginning to end. And a high energy,

exciting finale [that] only adds to the pleasure. Another strong entry in an outstanding series."

Library Journal
Pathologist Nora Gavin and archeologist Cormac Maguire are called to the bogs of Killowen to investigate the remains of a ninth-century man found in the trunk of a car along with the body of a controversial medievalist and television talk show host. Mixing work with pleasure, they choose to stay at the spa-lodge of Killowen, once a monastic settlement. Its permanent residents are an eclectic mix of artists and organic farmers who are not entirely appreciated by the locals. Nora and Cormac quickly learn that murder is not uncommon in this remote corner of Ireland and that the residents of the lodge, particularly the estranged wife of the dead TV host and her lover/assistant, all have secrets to hide. Working alongside a prickly group of local Gardai (police officers) and representatives of the National Museum, Nora and Cormac unravel a fascinating tale of ancient scribes, illuminated manuscripts, obsessive treasure hunters, and death. VERDICT This welcome fourth addition (after False Mermaid) to Hart's Irish archaeological series offers a richly atmospheric read full of medieval Irish lore and a provocative contemporary mystery. Sure to be a huge hit with readers of Aaron Elkins, Elly Griffiths, and Erin Hart's earlier Gavin/Maguire stories. [See Prepub Alert, 10/8/12.]—Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Two bodies killed hundreds of years apart bring pathologist Nora Gavin (False Mermaid, 2010, etc.) and archaeologist Cormac Maguire to Killowen, home to an ancient order of scribes. Nearly 1,200 years ago, young Eóghan was brought to the monastery at Killowen by his mother, who was at wits' end with his strange vocalizations and uncontrollable movements. There, his fascination with the monks' Scriptorum grew until the brothers allowed the youth to copy their sacred texts. Was it one of those illuminated manuscripts that led to the death of philosopher Benedict Kavanagh, who skewered rivals on his weekly television show and who recently told his estranged wife, Mairéad Broome, of a find that would set the scholarly world on its ear? The discovery of Kavanagh's body, along with the body of a man who perished centuries earlier, in the trunk of a car submerged in Killowen Bog brings Nora and Cormac to this remote corner of Killarney, along with Cormac's father, Joseph, still recovering from a stroke, and his caregiver, Eliana. The four stay at a local artists' retreat, where Claire Finnerty and her band of painters, potters and calligraphers include the visitors in their communal meals but keep them at arm's length from their personal lives. Local police detective Stella Cusack is more welcoming. But pressure to close the widely publicized case quickly and the demands of life with her teenage daughter Lia threaten Stella's professional and personal well-being. Hart's foray into soggy Killowen has a rock-solid foundation of musical language and deft plotting.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451634853
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
03/11/2014
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
405,952
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Book of Killowen

  • Domfarcai fidbaidæ fál fomchain lóid luin lúad nad cél.

    Huas mo lebrán indlínech fomchain trírech innanén . . .

    Fommchain cói menn medair mass himbrot lass de dindgnaib doss

    debrath nomchoimmdiu cóima cáinscríbaimm foróda ross.

    A hedge of trees surrounds me:

    a blackbird’s lay sings to me

    praise which I will not hide . . .

    Above my manuscript—the lined one—

    the trilling of the birds sings to me.

    In a gray mantle the cuckoo sings

    a beautiful chant to me from the tops of bushes:

    may the Lord protect me from Doom!

    I write well under the greenwood.

    —Verse written in the margin by an Irish scribe who copied Priscian’s Institutiones Grammaticae (a Latin grammar) in the mid-ninth century

  • Meet the Author

    Erin Hart is a theater critic and former administrator at the Minnesota State Arts Board. A lifelong interest in Irish traditional music led her to cofound Minnesota’s Irish Music and Dance Association. She and her husband, musician Paddy O’Brien, live in St. Paul, Minnesota, and frequently visit Ireland. Erin Hart was nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Awards for her debut novel, Haunted Ground, and won the Friends of American Writers Award in 2004. Visit her website at ErinHart.com.

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    The Book of Killowen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
    ElementaryPenguin More than 1 year ago
    I bought this book as part of BNs Christmas bargain book deal, and I'm very glad I did. I enjoyed this book so much, in fact, that I subsequently bought and read her other three books. So, I'm all caught up now, and Ms. Hart needs to write faster. Objectively, Hart's novels bear a strong kinship to Kathy Reich's "Bones" novels, which is understandable, since both series deal with murder mysteries involving exhumed bodies. So far, I prefer Hart's work, because she is one of those truly gifted authors whose prose can sometimes melt into poetry. The subject matter is pretty limited, however, so I have to wonder how long she will be able to keep it fresh, which became a problem for me with Ms. Reich's novels.
    AvidReader54MN More than 1 year ago
    In her fourth novel, Erin Hart returns to Ireland and the bog people, with a twist. The bog body is discovered with a more recent corpse, in the trunk of a car buried in the bog. Who is the ancient corpse, and how did it get displaced from its preservation in the bog to the trunk of a modern car? These questions are answered in a suspenseful read, an exceptional mystery by an exceptional writer. The book has just been selected as a finalist in the 2014 Book Awards.
    1nookworm More than 1 year ago
    Couldn't put this book down! Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author. Love the style....modern day rural Ireland, police, history and art all rolled up in one.
    HeavyReaderChgo More than 1 year ago
    I've read all Erin Hart's books--they're wonderful! If you want what I want from a book (likeable characters, interesting mystery plot, local color--in this case, Ireland--a bit of global history or archeology) then this author and her books are for you. And, the 'bog people' background is fascinating to me. Erin Hart is one of my favorites--check her out!
    Anonymous 7 months ago
    Well written. Couldn't put it down!
    Anonymous 8 months ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    These books are some of the more readable books l have seen in some time. It's not because I am Irish (I'm not. ) It's not due to my anthropology degree or the fact that I am a fellow twin citian to the author . The books are just that good. Good science, good imagination, good word pictures. Which leads to my one request. Not all of us are celtic or celtic speakers. Please Ms. Hart, provide us with a glossary or at least a pronounciation guide for personal names, place names, etc. Some definitions would be nice. Other than that, I've never seen an author progress from wow to jaw-dropping in just four books like that. Thank you so much. When does book five come out?
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A riviting read. I couldn't put it down i love that it was based on historical facts that , normally, i find dull. This was anything but. I highly recommend it
    2_Irish_Girls More than 1 year ago
    This book was simply brilliant. I am still reeling from the creativity of Author Erin Hart. The way she intertwined the ancient history with modern Ireland was truly enthralling. The use of archeology to help solve the mystery was almost as much fun as the mystery itself. I don’t think I could have enjoyed this book more. Nora & Cormac are dynamic characters dripping with intelligence and charisma. I will happily read any book starring these two. I was instantly attracted to them and found them easy to relate to. Neither is pushover, rather they complement one another beautifully. Adding to the mystique is a group of eccentric artists, each with their own secrets. Resist the urge to purchase a ticket to Ireland after reading this book! It is incredibly descriptive. I felt like I was sitting on the rolling green hills as I read. Beyond that, this book taught me a great deal about Ireland’s history. It was fascinating. I was just as wrapped up in the mystery as I was with the times gone by. Like I said, this book was brilliant. It was a roller-coaster ride at its finest and even brought me to tears at the end. 5 Stars for The Book of Killowen and pair it with pint of Guinness.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Pulled me in and kept me engaged.
    LookingForGoodBooks More than 1 year ago
    I have not read anything by this author before. She is very good. I will be sure to follow up with other books by her.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It kept my interest through out the whole book! Couldn't put it down.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Manuscript might have been interesting but came off as just filler with tedious details of oak gall etc no need for maps and chapter headings in latin and galic english enough. Not a keeper and wont bother reading more by author. buska
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    scduckett13 More than 1 year ago
    I just got to this book. It's been intriguing so far. Always a mix of ancient and modern secrets, with motives for murder never changing, no matter what time you live in. Erin Hart anchors this novel in the bogs of Ireland moving easily back and forth between 800-900 a.d. and today. She's done her research on bog bodies and the preserving effects it has on old or new bodies. Makes you wonder just how many bodies are still out there! Love her books. A little formulaic but that's ok too.
    Quidd More than 1 year ago
    As good for the visual imagery as the mystery.
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Enjoyed the story