Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. A 30-year-old case is being reopened, and Rebus’s team from back then is suspected of foul play. With Malcolm Fox as the investigating officer is the past and present about to collide in a shocking and murderous fashion? And does Rebus have anything to hide? His colleagues back then called themselves ‘The Saints’, and swore a bond on something called ‘the Shadow Bible’. But times have changed and the crimes of the past may not stay hidden much longer, especially with a referendum on Scottish independence just around the corner. Who are the saints and who the sinners? And can the one ever become the other?
The Characters: About John Rebus
Inspector John Rebus is an old-fashioned cop in a modern world; flawed but always humane. We have followed him step by step since 1987 when he was 40, through to his retirement in 2007. But now, some 26 years after we first encountered him investigating Edinburgh’s criminal underbelly, the law has changed and Rebus is back on the force. He’s a little more disillusioned and he’s got more demons to fight; are we about to find out whose side our brooding antihero is really on?
The Characters: About Malcolm Fox
Malcolm Fox heads up Edinburgh’s Police Complaints and Conduct Office – known as ‘The Complaints’. He’s the cop that investigates other cops. Like Rebus he’s not a team player: it’s his job to watch his colleagues and get to the truth – so it helps that he’s an outsider, a voyeur. But unlike Rebus, Fox can’t break the rules. Sober (now) and serious, he’s controlled and considered until forced into action by circumstances. But is he really whiter than white…?
‘Fox is a nuanced character, bookish but streetwise, long teetotal after verging on alcoholism, haunted by guilt about the violence he once inflicted on his ex-wife; he is less vibrantly drawn than Rebus but perhaps even more interesting . . .’ Daily Telegraph
The Characters: About Siobhan Clarke
We first met Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke, Rebus’s police partner, in The Black Book and have seen her rise through the ranks as the series has progressed.Young, English, a graduate and IT savvy, Siobhan is a great foil for the curmudgeonly Rebus, who’s from a different generation and prefers to investigate crime the old-fashioned way. She has spread her wings since Rebus retired, but now he’s back on the force will he derail her career? Perhaps it’s time for her to take steps to reverse their roles...
Title Inspiration:Jackie Leven
Like Standing in Another Man’s Grave, the title of Ian Rankin’s new novel – Saints of the Shadow Bible – is taken from a Jackie Leven song. Folk singer Leven, who died in 2011, was a good friend of Ian Rankin: ‘Jackie was a great guitarist and a fine songwriter with a vein of robust romantic imagery and a voice that could melt granite. He was also a terrific storyteller whose life had provided no end of material. He’s still much missed by all of us who knew him.’
The Setting: Edinburgh
Look beneath Edinburgh’s charming veneer and you will find its dark side – tales of ghosts and murder, warfare and death – as relevant today as during the sixteenth century when it first became Scotland’s capital. Edinburgh is a ‘city the size of a town that thinks like a village’ – everyone knows your business; it’s the ideal backdrop for a detective novel. Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels have always examined Edinburgh’s dual identity, its ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ nature. Rebus has his own dark side: he’s been made cynical by the job he does. Every day he moves through this extraordinary city, but deals only with its victims and miscreants: to him, ‘It wasn’t a view at all. It was a crime scene waiting to happen.’
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