Thursday, 30 June 2011
THE SACRIFICIAL MAN by Ruth Dugdall
'Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a life-time: I will lift mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help. Will you help me to die?'
Alice Mariani reads this on-line advert and begins a chain of events that has ended with her conviction for assisting a suicide.
Cate Austin is the probation officer assigned to the case. Her role is to determine, for the judge, a recommended sentence.
Alice insists that her story is one of misinterpreted love. Cate is, also, faced with the moral dilemma of the loophole between murder and euthenasia.
If only it was simple as that.
The book is not straightforward for as soon as the reader thinks that they know where it is leading, Ruth Dugdall throws a curve to keep you guessing.
Alice Mariani tells her story from the first person point of view while Cate's is in the third person. The flow of the narrative knits it all together. And then there is 'Smith' the man who placed the advert has a moment with his diary. Yet all the 'voices' are distinguishable and individual.
It has been a long time since I have read a book that has left a lasting impression on me. And I am impressed and I liked the touch where the reader finds out a little more about the fate of Rose Wilks who appeared in Ruth Dugdall's previous novel 'The Woman Before Me'.
Although this book is set in the English county of Suffolk, the story and the issues that it raises are universal. The characters are real and three dimensional - they walk among us.
'The Sacrificial Man' is a must read novel.
For a short time only this book, published by Legend Press, is available from Amazon for £4 - grab it while you can.