The last people to die in Mary King's Close had been plague victims. But that was in the 1700s. Now a body has been discovered, brutally tortured and murdered in Edinburgh's buried city. Inspector John Rebus, ex-army, spots a paramilitary link. It is August in Edinburgh, the Festival is in full swing. No one wants to contemplate terrorism in the thronging city streets. Special Branch are interested, however, and Rebus finds himself seconded to an elite police unit with the mission of smashing whatever terrorist cell may exist. But the victim turns out to be a gangster's son, and the gangster wants revenge on his own terms.
Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into twenty-two languages and are bestsellers on several continents. Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America's celebrated Edgar Award for 'Resurrection Men'. He has also been shortlisted for the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the USA, and won Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews and Edinburgh. A contributor to BBC2's 'Newsnight Review', he also presented his own TV series, 'Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts'. He recently received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons.