The stunning new historical thriller from Clio Gray, the acclaimed author of the Scottish Mysteries series.
Lukitt Bachmann is waiting in his Lanterne de Mortes, a Tower of the Dead, in the middle of a cemetery.
He’s had a complicated life: son of a Herrnhuter Brother thrown out of his sect; help-meet to a pastor; sailor; fisherman; boar-hunter; and student and lecturer, exploring the varied histories of the Knights Teutonic and the bone-chapels their descendants left behind them.
He has become an assassin and a murderer learned the terrible highs and lows of friendships made and lost and is awaiting now his last remaining friend to set him free so he can put right past wrongs.
As Lukitt is let loose on a world gone mad, can this avenging angel finally find solace for his soul?
Excerpt From Archimimus – Clio Gray
I’m sitting atop the Lanterne des Mortes in some Alsatian hole but here, in Sansonnet-St-Genès, lives my only friend. I’m crouched below the casement window, knees to chest, hands beneath armpits; the fire in the old upturned bell is burning, but still there’s frost on the walls, breath billowing like early morning mist. It’s high up here, thirty feet above the cemetery; the tower cylindrical and hollow, spiral staircase of stones protruding from its inner wall. It’s All Souls Eve, hence the bowl-fire, a Lux Perpetua leading the villagers from their mean houses as they hum the hymn of the Dies Irae, packets of bread clutched beneath their jackets, along with small flasks of oil and wine. They reach the cemetery surrounding the Lanterne des Mortes, begin tidying plots and graves, scrubbing down crosses and angels, pruning corpse-shrubs, straightening portraits hanging from rusting chains, poking mildew and lichen from roughly sculpted names and dates. They leave their gifts of bread, oil and wine; stick candles to the stones with warm-dripped wax: teetering will – o’- wisps in the darkness.
The priest arrives and intones the rite of Mass, everyone kneeling in the frost: old hips creaking, bunions aching, fingers clutched about each other turning white. Mass soon done – two more to perform the following day – everyone back home soon as they can decently go.
Only a few more hours now. Only a few more hours.
Lukitt Habakkuk Bachmann in his tower, waiting for his friend. How did you end up here, Lukitt? How did it all lead to this?
Clio was born in Yorkshire, spent her later childhood in Devon before returning to Yorkshire to go to university. For the last twenty-five year,s she has lived in the Scottish Highlands where she intends to remain. She eschewed the usual route of marriage, mortgage, children, and instead spent her working life in libraries, filling her home with books and sharing that home with dogs. She began writing for personal amusement in the late nineties, then began entering short story competitions, getting shortlisted and then winning, which led directly to a publication deal with Headline. Her book, The Anatomist’s Dream, was nominated for the Man Booker 2015 and longlisted for the Bailey’s Prize in 2016.