“From the author of the Guardian Not The Booker Prize short-listed First Time Solo comes a fast-paced historical thriller.
Reverend Burnett, the unpopular minister at Abdale, lives with his sixteen year old daughter Fiona who he treats no better than a servant. Behind the manse lies Silma Hill, crowned with a circle of ancient standing stones.
Old Sangster unearths a pagan icon in the peat beneath Silma Hill and hands it over to Burnett, who plans to write a paper on it for the Historical Antiquities Society. Hours after finding the relic, Sangster is found dead. Fiona is drawn into accusations of witchcraft, fuelled by hatred of her father.
As hysteria in the village builds, will Fiona’s father be able to put aside his pride to save his daughter? Or will she be consumed by the fire of anger, fear and superstition that has enveloped Abdale?”
‘An atmospheric evocation of an earlier age we might suppose lost if it didn’t feel so lived-in. The true terror of the tale lies in what it tells us of ourselves today – as morally equivocal as ever.’ Ronald Frame, author of Havisham and The Lantern Bearers.
‘Silma Hill should be required reading.’
Scotland on Sunday
‘Recalling the likes of James Hogg’s Confessions, George Douglas Brown’s The House with the Green Shutters, and James Kelman’s How Late it was How Late … Maloney makes a memorable contemporary addition to rural Scottish Gothic.’
Dr Neil Syme, University of Stirling
‘Maloney manages to emulate the Gothic intensity of classic Scottish writers such as James Hogg and RL Stevenson as he explores the correlation and conflict between good and evil.’
‘A story of superstition and fear and hysteria … Silma Hill captures what a lethal combination fear and ignorance can be, particularly when coupled with toxic politics or religion.’
The Clare Balding Show, BBC Radio 2
‘An enthralling and thought-provoking tale.’
Blue Book Balloon
‘Maloney weaves a tight plot and is economical in his writing.’
‘Engagingly disturbing … and leaves the reader asking questions about the nature of society and the role of religion and belief. The story is in many respects timeless.’
‘It is clear Mr Maloney has thoroughly researched the subject and therefore it is an interesting work … an enjoyable read and good story.’
Press and Journal
‘One of the scariest books I have read in a long while … worthy of comparison with “The Turn of the Screw”.’
For The Joy of Reading
‘A wonderfully claustrophobic world … I thoroughly enjoyed it.’
‘I love a good supernatural tale, and Silma Hill was a great read – a really pacey story and a genuine page-turner – it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I’d recommend it as an engaging summer read.’