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About the book
  • Published: 23 October 2017
  • ISBN: 9781784163174
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $24.99

The Devil's Beat


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An extraordinary novel - Picnic at Hanging Rock meets Howard's End meet The Crucible

'We must prise opinion from fact, belief from supposition and guesswork from whatever evidence must exist...'

It is surely a simple case of hysteria. Four young women allegedly witness a terrifying apparition while walking in the woods. Has the devil really revealed himself to them? Are they genuine victims of demonic possession? Or, as most suspect, is their purpose in claiming all of this considerably more prosaic?

The eyes of the country turn to a small Nottinghamshire town, where an inquiry is to be held. Everyone there is living through hard, uncertain times. The king is recently dead. It is a new century - a new world looking to the future. But here, in the ancient heart of England, an old beast stirs...

Four men must examine the substance of the girls' tales and decide their fate: a minister, a doctor, a magistrate, and Merritt, an investigator - a seemingly perfect blend of the rational, the sacred and the judicial. And yet, as the feverish excitement all around them grows ever more widespread and infectious, there is both doubt and conflict among the members of this panel.

The Devil's Beat explores the unforeseeable and unstoppable outcome of this inquiry during an alarming and unsettling time, when the whole of that small world seems in turmoil as, one after another, hitherto dependable natural checks and balances, beliefs and superstitions are challenged and then shattered.

  • Pub date: 23 October 2017
  • ISBN: 9781784163174
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Robert Edric

Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (James Tait Black Prize winner 1986), A New Ice Age (runner-up for the Guardian Fiction Prize 1986), The Book of the Heathen (winner of the WH Smith LIterary Award 2000), Peacetime (longlisted for the Booker Prize 2002), Gathering the Water (longlisted for the Booker Prize 2006) and In Zodiac Light (shortlisted for the Dublin Impac Prize 2010). His most recent novel is Sanctuary. He lives in Yorkshire.

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Praise for The Devil's Beat

“A connoisseur of shadows, Edric is excellent on what is truly "devilish" in human beings”

The Sunday Times

“Edric is a novelist who makes his own rules and can't be compared with anyone else. The world he has made in this unsettling novel is both familiar and deeply weird; there's a genuine sense of menace beneath the hysteria and superstition”

The Times

“Another brilliant offering from Edric”

The Lady

“An intriguing scenario which Edric develops with polish and intelligence, immersing himself in small-town Edwardian England”

Daily Mail


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