"It is evident from the way the stones are set into the slope of the hill that industrious hands once toiled to make this pathway. It is overgrown now, the shallow impression of a ditch on one side. He makes his way carefully down towards the remains of the village, pursued by the oddest sense of treading in his own footsteps. And yet he has never been here.
The silhouette of a broken-down drystone wall runs along the contour of the treeless hill above him. Beyond it, he knows, a crescent of silver sand curls away towards the cemetery and the standing stones on the rise. Below him, the footings of the blackhouses are barely visible among the peaty soil and the spikes of tall grasses that bend and bow in the wind. The last evidence of walls that once sheltered the families who lived and died here.
He follows the path between them, down towards the shingle shore where a ragged line of roughly hewn stones vanishes into waves that cast their spume upon the pebbles, frothing and spitting. They are all that remain of some long-forgotten attempt to build a jetty...."
I know a lot of us were big fans of Peter May's Lewis Trilogy, The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man, and The Chessmen (which I don't think I wrote about here), so it's good news that he has recently published a new novel. Entry Island begins with the passage I've quoted above, and I've just started reading it today so can't say much yet other than that it links Canada and the Hebrides and features Detective Sime Mackenzie on what appears to be a routine investigation, but one which seems to have another dimension ...
More on it soon, I hope, but while we're talking about Peter May, I must recommend his pictorial accompaniment to The Lewis Trilogy, the very beautiful Hebrides with photographs by David Wilson, and if you've ever marvelled at his output, in this short video he explains his writing methods and how he 'hits the ground running' with every book.