The Wolf Trial: a novel by Neil Mackay
Freight Books (21 April 2016)
Sheer breathtaking brilliance ... a near perfect 5 ... Oh why not...the perfect 5 !
Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose meets Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho in this brilliant historical epic.
Inspired by an extraordinary true case - the first ever documented account of a serial killer in world history.
In the second half of the 16th century, Paulus Melchior, lawyer, academic, and enlightened rationalist, travels with his young assistant Willy Lessinger to the isolated German town of Bideburg where local landowner, Peter Stumpf, is accused of brutally murdering dozens of people. A society still trapped in a medieval mindset, the townsfolk clamour for the killer to be tried as a werewolf. If their demands are met, his blameless wife and children will also be executed in the most barbaric way imaginable as agents of Satan and creatures contaminated by wolf blood.
Paulus and Willy must fight superstition, the cruelty of those who fear what they don't understand, and a zealous church determined to retain its grip on the souls of Bideburg in this compelling, utterly unforgettable, shocking tour de force.
A Note From the Publisher
Neil Mackay is a multi-award winning investigative journalist, newspaper executive, non-fiction author, radio broadcaster and film-maker. He has won around two dozen national and international awards for his newspaper journalism. Mackay was a launch editor of the Sunday Herald newspaper, and has subsequently been the paper’s Crime Editor, Investigations Editor and Head of News. His last film, an investigation into the rise of the far right in Europe and America, was nominated for a BAFTA. His book, The War on Truth, which investigated the roots of the invasion of Iraq, was published in the UK and USA. He has written for the Sunday Herald, The Observer, Scotland on Sunday, Ireland’s Sunday Tribune, Australia’s The Age and most newspapers in Northern Ireland. His debut novel was All The Little Guns Go Bang Bang Bang.
'A great storyteller.' Louise Welsh
'First, a warning. This novel isn’t for the squeamish. Then again, neither was 16th century Germany, yet Neil Mackay brings its crimes and cruelties, heresies and horrors to life with all the manifold skills of a natural-born story-teller. A frighteningly impressive achievement. Imagine a land in which Christianity is as bloodthirsty as Isis, and where the punishments heretics face make Bosch’s nightmares look timid. That’s what Neil Mackay has done here, turning back to 16th century Germany and the world’s first recorded trial of a serial killer for an impeccably crafted story that also never stops rooting out answers to the question of evil.' David Robinson, author of In Cold Ink
'The tale is gripping, the violence extreme, and the storycraft utterly superb... The Wolf Trial will be one of the landmark texts of the year, without a shadow of a doubt.' Sogo Magazine
'The Wolf Trial is an audaciously imaginative novel, as haunting and atmospheric as The Name of the Rose, as beautifully written and finely plotted as An Instance of the Fingerpost. It is a novel to savour, to relish its fine and beautiful sentences, its cunning plot, its rich evocation of a brutal time and place. A joy to read... this is historical crime fiction at its very finest.' ES Thomsom, author of Beloved Poison.