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The Devil and the Dark Water
Cover of The Devil and the Dark Water
The Devil and the Dark Water
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"Compulsively readable."—New York Times Book Review

Named a Best Book of 2020 by The Guardian, Daily Mail, Financial Times, The Independent, Publishers Weekly, and more.

The extraordinary new thriller from Stuart Turton, author of the bestselling murder mystery The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, winner of the Costa Best First Novel Award.

A murder on the high seas. A remarkable detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.

It's 1634, and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. Among the other guests is Sara Wessel, a noblewoman with a secret.

But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock dies in the night.

And then the passengers hear a terrible voice, whispering to them in the darkness, promising three unholy miracles, followed by a slaughter. First an impossible pursuit. Second an impossible theft. And third an impossible murder.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

Shirley Jackson meets Sherlock Holmes in this chilling thriller of supernatural horror, occult suspicion, and paranormal mystery on the high seas.

"Compulsively readable."—New York Times Book Review

Named a Best Book of 2020 by The Guardian, Daily Mail, Financial Times, The Independent, Publishers Weekly, and more.

The extraordinary new thriller from Stuart Turton, author of the bestselling murder mystery The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, winner of the Costa Best First Novel Award.

A murder on the high seas. A remarkable detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.

It's 1634, and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. Among the other guests is Sara Wessel, a noblewoman with a secret.

But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock dies in the night.

And then the passengers hear a terrible voice, whispering to them in the darkness, promising three unholy miracles, followed by a slaughter. First an impossible pursuit. Second an impossible theft. And third an impossible murder.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

Shirley Jackson meets Sherlock Holmes in this chilling thriller of supernatural horror, occult suspicion, and paranormal mystery on the high seas.

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About the Author-
  • STUART TURTON is a freelance journalist who lives in West London with his wife. Stuart is not to be trusted-in the nicest possible way. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his first novel.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2020

    The first mystery Banville has written under his own name, rather than as Benjamin Black, Snow stars a crusty Protestant detective investigating a murder in County Wexford, buried in endless Snow. In Carlyle's debut, The Girl in the Mirror, jealous Iris takes over the identity--and the handsome husband--of golden-girl twin sister Summer, who mysteriously disappears from a yacht in the middle of the Indian Ocean (100,000-copy first printing). In House of Correction, French's new stand-alone, back-in-town Tabitha is arrested for murder when a dead body is found in her shed, and given her pill-popping history of depression and faded recollections of the day, she starts wondering if she really is guilty (50,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). In Jewell's Invisible Girl, virginal 30-year-old geography teacher Owen Pick is suspended from his job for sexual misconduct he denies, ends up on a shady online involuntary celibate forum, and eventually is a suspect in a teenager's disappearance (250,000-copy first printing). Molloy follows up her New York Times best-selling The Perfect Mother with Goodnight Beautiful, about newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter, who have moved to his quiet upstate New York hometown as he pursues his career as a therapist, though, dangerously, his sessions are heard by neighbors through a ceiling vent (100,000-copy first printing). A Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner and finalist for multitudinous awards, Neville collects short crime, horror, and speculative fiction (some new to print) in The Traveller and Other Stories, a cogent example of Northern Irish noir. With Death and the Maiden, Norman wraps up mother Ariana Franklin's 1100s England-set series about Adelia Aguilar, Mistress of the Art of Death, with an original story about Adelia's daughter, Allie, investigating when several girls go missing from a village she is visiting (40,000-copy first printing). The protean Oates offers four masterly, never-before-published novellas, exemplified by the titular story in Cardiff by the Sea, whose protagonist rediscovers past tragedy when she inherits a house in Maine from someone she doesn't know. In Patterson/Serafin's Three Women Disappear, a mob accountant who is the nephew of the don of central Florida is fatally stabbed in his own kitchen, and which of three women--his wife, his maid, or his personal chef--might be responsible (500,000-copy first printing)? Rankin's A Song for Dark Times witnesses the returns of Inspector Rebus (50,000-copy first printing). In The Devil and the Dark Water, Turton's follow-up to the top LibraryReads pick, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, famed detective Samuel Pipps is sailing back to Amsterdam in chains when terrifying events assault the crew, Pipps's sidekick vanishes, and Pipps himself is asked to puzzle out what's happening.

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2020
    After an outbreak of ghastly events aboard the Saardam, a merchant vessel returning from the East Indies to Amsterdam in 1634, fear spreads that an evil spirit is responsible. Before the ship's departure, a leper issued a stark warning about the "merciless ruin" that awaited it--and then burst into flames. Only prisoner Sammy Pipps, an alleged British spy with uncanny powers of deduction, took the threat seriously. Soon enough at sea, on a vessel populated by "murderers, cutpurses and malcontents," throats are slit, bodies are stashed, and dark secrets are exposed. Ultimately, a monster storm upends the Saardam and destroys two other ships in the fleet. Amid the evil doings, human decency is largely limited to Sammy's bodyguard, Arent Hayes, a physically imposing specimen with a kind soul and a "poisoned" past, and healer Sara Wessel, abused wife of soulless Governor General Jan Haan, who happens to be Arent's uncle. With their congenial Holmes and Watson act, Sammy and Arent seem on track to emerge as the heroes of this perpetually revealing tale. But Turton, who brings a pointed social conscience to bear in his commentary on the ill treatment of women and the exploitation of the lower class, has something else in mind. With all its characters, hidden identities, and backstories, this epic sometimes sags. As one character declares, "There are too many damn secrets on this ship, and I swear all of them are marching toward him with swords in their hands." But Turton, whose brain-twisting first novel, The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (2018), posed knotty challenges for readers, has a colorful tale to tell and does so in highly entertaining fashion. A devilish sea saga that never runs out of cutthroat conspiracies.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 17, 2020
    Set in 1634, this outstanding whodunit from Turton (The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle) opens in Batavia, where celebrated investigator Samuel Pipps, who was working in the Dutch East Indies until his arrest for an unknown reason, is about to be transported to Amsterdam aboard the Saardam, along with his longtime sidekick, Arent Hayes. From the dock, a bloody man issues a dire warning to the Saardam’s crew and passengers. As the grim figure, who appears to have leprosy, prophesies that the ship won’t reach its destination, his clothing bursts into flame. Hayes and another passenger, the governor-general’s wife, rush to help the dying man, only to find that his tongue had been cut out, making any speech impossible. The puzzles only continue once the vessel sets sail, including a locked-room murder, the reappearance of the dead leper, and a ghost ship dogging the Saardam. As Turton ratchets up the tension en route to the brilliant resolution of the plot, he keeps readers in doubt as to whether a rational explanation is possible. Fans of impossible crime fiction won’t want to miss this one. Agent: Harry Illingworth, DHH Literary Agency.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2020
    The eight-month voyage from Batavia to Amsterdam in 1634 is always perilous, and, as the Saardam prepares to sail, a leper sounds a warning that this trip will end very badly for all aboard. Passengers include Governor General Jan Haan, who is intending to be made a ruler of the United East Indian Company in Amsterdam; his wife, Sara Wessel; his daughter, Lia; and mistress, Cressjie Jens. Also on board are noted mystery solver Samuel Pipps, currently imprisoned, and his bodyguard and apprentice, Lieutenant Arent Hayes. The ship soon appears to be inhabited by the demon Old Tom, whose sign?an eye with a tail?was on its sail and now is found everywhere aboard, as the demon whispers nightly to crew and passengers, offering to fulfill their desires if they follow him. The Saardam faces natural as well as supernatural forces as a mysterious ship trails it, and the body count mounts. A marked departure from Turton's debut (7' Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, 2018), this is a rousing, action-filled mystery. With a reading-group guide and a short author interview appended, it's tailor-made for book groups with a taste for bloody adventure.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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