The year is 1869. After a brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands, a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae is arrested for the crime.
A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but the police and the courts must decide what drove him to murder the local village constable. And why did he kill his other two victims?
Was he insane? Or was this the act of a man in possession of his senses? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between the killer and the gallows at Inverness.
In this compelling and original novel, using the words of the accused, personal testimony, transcripts from the trial and newspaper reports, Graeme Macrae Burnet tells a moving story about the provisional nature of the truth, even when the facts are plain.
His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the rules can change but justice is absolute.
Read an extract on the Number 3 Chiller.
‘A real box of tricks…a truly ingenious thriller.’
‘A gripping crime story, a deeply imagined historical novel, and gloriously written all in one tour-de-force of a book.’
‘The book’s pretence at veracity, as well as being a literary jeux d’esprit, brings an extraordinary historical period into focus, while the multiple unreliable perspectives are designed to keep the audience wondering, throughout the novel and beyond. This is a fiendishly readable tale that richly deserves the wider attention the Booker has brought it.’
‘[His Bloody Project] isn’t a thriller in any normal sense of the word. It engrosses the reader by means quite different from suspense, and the mysteries it presents are of a kind that can’t be neatly solved…In drawing attention to this riveting, dark and ingeniously constructed novel, the Man Booker judges have done readers hungry for new and serious fiction a tremendous favour.’
‘It’s a riveting historical whydunnit that plants readers among the dirt and injustice of Victorian-era crofting life’
‘Accounts, witness reports, and a trial, all set down as in an authentic case, gradually reveal a truth that is chilling yet inevitable.’
‘I also adored Graeme Macrae Burnet’s maddeningly brilliant His Bloody Project, and found myself utterly absorbed in the 1869 case of Roderick Macrae, accused of murder in a Scottish highland community…A cunning and unreliable tale that still bloody nags at me.’
‘A dark, unforgettable picture of the crofter’s life in 19th-century Scotland.’
‘This is ultimately the book’s great strength—its unwillingness to offer a definitive explanation for its protagonist’s shocking deeds. After hinting at possible motives and offering a basis for a countervailing case of insanity, the book finally gestures towards the impossibility of knowing the forces at play in another person’s mind.’
‘Transporting and deliciously frustrating—I loved the way Burnet played with notions of doubt, criminality and justice.’
‘A retelling of a gory triple murder that’ll indulge your true crime craving.’
‘A remote crofting village in nineteenth-century Scotland, and a shocking and seemingly inexplicable act of murder by a teenage villager. Accounts, witness reports, and a trial, all set down as in an authentic case, gradually reveal a truth that is chilling yet inevitable: the power of a feudal system that supports petty tyrants, stereotypes its criminals, and grinds down its victims.’
‘A powerful novel…keeps the reader guessing to the end as it examines the legal process as it relates to the class divide of the time.’
‘In exploring the duality of good and evil, Burnet is tapping into a rich seam of Scottish literature, from James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, to Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde…His Bloody Project also illustrates what fans know about crime writing: it’s a great way to explore the depths of a society: the tensions that animate it, the structures and hierarchies that underpin it.’