Andrew Taylor

Crime and Historical Novelist

The Raven on the Water


"Like Hitchcock, Taylor pitches extreme and gothic events within a hair's breadth of normality" Times Literary Supplement

Back in 1964, in the wild and overgrown garden of a Somerset vicarage, Peter Redburn and his best friend Richard had spent a golden summer holiday playing out their special game - a private world of Roman emperors, secret rituals and oaths of loyalty sworn for eternity. But the boys' peace was suddenly threatened when an unwelcome new playmate introduced sinister elements of a mystical religion into their innocent game. Then, one terrible night, the childish dreamworld turned into an adult nightmare.

The tragic events of that summer have never been fully explained and, ever since, all those present have been haunted by chilling memories. Years later a family death brings them together once more, rekindling bitter childhood rivalries and reviving half-forgotten secrets of jealousy and betrayal. It seem they all have their own reasons to remember - and even more pressing reasons to forget.

One of the participants stumbles on the archives of Emor in his mother's attic and becomes obsessed with the need to discover what really happened in the summer which changed his life. But the past is not merely another country: it is a dangerous one to revisit, even as a tourist.