Authors: Laurie R. King
“What a pleasure it was, to begin 1999 by reading such a terrific book. The many fans of Laurie R. King’s two series… will not regret that she takes us in a different direction and to a ‘Darker Place.’… a real page-turner.”
The Drood Review of Mystery
“King always writes well, and her stories sweep along with an inexorable force that comes from a power greater than mere skillful plotting….
A Darker Place
is a fine study of sympathy and how it clouds our judgement about integrity.”
The Boston Globe
“King is an original and skilled writing talent, and Waverly is one of the more fascinating new protagonists to come along.”
The Plain Dealer
“Murky, complex, deeply disturbing and aptly titled… highly original.”
The Denver Post
“King brings to the schizophrenic nature of undercover work an astute understanding… horrifying. Anne is an intriguing character, afflicted with memory and loss (her relationship with her FBI handler is worth a book in itself). And the delicate maneuvers that get her into the heart of the targeted community even as she teases out its secrets carry their own fascination.”
“Provocative… fascinating… the climax of the novel is stunning.”
The Providence Sunday Journal
“King applies her renegade talents to a suspenseful tale in which a woman penetrates the treacherous realm of religious cults…. [Ana Wakefield] is a complicated and enigmatic heroine who perfectly fits the task of illuminating the shadowy world of religious cults.”
“Absorbing… King smoothly weaves fascinating facts into a suspenseful narrative without ever losing sight of her characters’ flawed humanity.”
The Orlando Sentinel
“King, whose Sherlock Holmes pastiches make it clear that she never takes up a familiar form without making it her own, produces an undercover thriller notable for its intensity, its psychological nuance, and its avoidance of the most obvious action-movie cliches of the genre.”
“King has deservedly received the Edgar and Creasy awards for her thoughtful, intelligent, innovative, imaginative mysteries. Her latest—a suspenseful and provocative psychological thriller—is another winner.”
“King’s intelligent, richly descriptive prose provides the intricate detail of a procedural as well as artfully rendering all the emotional nuances of some fresh and compelling characters.”
“A dark but compelling journey.”
The Seattle Times
“One of the most original talents to emerge in the ’90s.”
A Grave Talent
Winner of the Edgar and Creasey Awards for Best First Crime Novel
“If there is a new P. D. James lurking in this stack of books, I would put my money on Laurie R. King, whose
A Grave Talent
kept me reading deep into the night.”
The Boston Globe
“An amazing first novel with intelligence, intrigue, and intricacy… This work exhibits strong psychological undertones, compelling urgency, and dramatic action.”
“Warm characterizations… searching insights… This detective has a mind that is always on the move.”
The New York Times Book Review
To Play the Fool
“Beautifully written, with clearly defined and engaging characters.”
The Boston Globe
A Monstrous Regiment of Women
“As audacious as it is entertaining and moving.”
A Letter of Mary
“A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company.”
The New York Times Book Review
“The great marvel of King’s series is that she’s managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes’s character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart…. Superb.”
The Washington Post Book World
“Erudite, fascinating… by all odds the most successful recreation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted.”
Mystery Novels by Laurie R. King
Mary Russell Novels
THE BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE
A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN
A LETTER OF MARY
Kate Martinelli Novels
THE ART OF DETECTION
A GRAVE TALENT
TO PLAY THE FOOL
A DARKER PLACE
Look for the newest
Mary Russell mystery
THE LANGUAGE OF BEES
Available from Bantam Books
This one is for
Ken and Susan Orrett,
With thanks to Jane-Marie Harrison
and Paul Harrison, Bronwen Buckley,
Jack from Freedom Independent Service,
Alverda Orlando, and Mark Jacobs
from Intertec Publishing.
And particular gratitude for the clever hands
and eyes of Ken Orrett and Nathanael King,
who brought to life the vision of Anne
Waverly and Jason Delgado.
Section headings are taken from
Compound of Alchymie
by Sir George Ripley,
Theatrum Chemicum Brittanicum
by Elias Ashmole in 1652. Some of the
archaic spelling has been modernized by the
Section definitions are from
New Collegiate Dictionary
) the action or
process of making something
ready for use or of getting
ready for some
occasion, test, or duty.
O Power, O Wisdom, O Goodness inexplicable;
Support me, Teach me, and be my Governor,
That never my living be to thee despicable…
Grant well that I may my intent fulfill.
In this country, we have the right to religious freedom. The nation was given its form by men and women who came here to escape religious persecution. When their descendents joined together in independence to frame a constitution, they recognized the right to freedom of religion as the very backbone of the nation; take it away, define just what a religion is permitted to look like and how the people may worship, and the entire basis of constitutional government is threatened. Argue as we might with Satanists or witches, followers of disagreeable mullahs or believers in the efficacy of comets to conceal alien spacecraft, from the beginning it has been made clear that, so long as the doctrine involved does not interfere with the country’s legal system, a religious community has the right to define its own beliefs: In this country, heresy is not a concern of governmental agencies. Madness may even, at times, be a relative definition; after all, two thousand years ago the Roman government and the Jewish authorities judged a middle-aged rabbi to be criminally insane.
Still, laws must be obeyed, and the dance of what may and what may not be allowed keeps the courts very busy and law enforcement agencies torn between the need to intervene in a community that is behaving in an unlawful manner and the need to preserve the rights of individuals to act out their beliefs in any way short of the unlawful. For example, a community has the right to treat its children as adults when it comes to matters of worship and the determination of authority; it does not have the right to violate the state’s child labor laws or treat minors as adults in matters of sexuality.
In investigating the legality of a community, the key element is information, accurately obtained and accurately interpreted. We have all seen the tragedies that occur when law enforcement personnel simply do not share a common language with a group of believers; the only choice in that situation is
From the notes of Professor Anne Waverly
The woman at the focal point of the tiered rows of red and blue seats in the lecture hall did not at first glance seem the type to hold the attention of two hundred and fifty undergraduates at the slump time of three in the afternoon. She was small and her hair was going gray, and her figure, though slim, was long past the litheness of youth. Her voice was quiet and deliberate, which in another speaker would have lulled the back rows to sleep, and the subject of her lecture was more cerebral than kept the average twenty-year-old on the edge of his chair.
The number of sleepers was few, however, and the percentage of spines inclined forward over the tiny writing surfaces attached to the chairs was high. There was an intensity in her that proved contagious, a vivid urgency in her voice and her body that overcame her undistinguished appearance and the torpor of the unseasonably early warmth of the day, transforming her limp into the stately pace of a sage and the wooden cane she leaned on into the staff of a prophetess.
In the eyes of her undergraduates, at any rate.
“What the hell is she talking about?” whispered the woman standing high up at the back of the hall, speaking to the man at her side. The two were not undergraduates; even if their age had not disqualified them, her skirt and blazer and his gray suit made them stand out in the denim-clad crowd.
The man gestured for her to be quiet, but it was too late; they had been noticed. A nearby girl glanced over her shoulder at them, then openly stared, and turned to nudge the boy next to her. The woman saw the girl’s mouth form the word “narcs,” and then she felt her
temporary partner’s hand on her elbow, pulling her out the door and out of the lecture hall. Professor Anne Waverly’s voice followed them, saying, “In fourth-century Israel this concept of a personal experience of God came together with the political—” before her words were cut off by the doors, and then the police officer and the FBI agent were back out in the watery sunlight.
In truth, neither was a narcotics officer, although both had worked narcotics cases in the past. Glen McCarthy made for a bench just outside the building and dropped into it. Birdsong came, and voices of students walking past; in the distance the freeway growled to itself.