First edition, first printing of the 2005 Orion edition, with introduction by Ian Rankin.
The book that began Ian Rankin's phenomenal career.
Mary Miller had always been an outcast. Burnt in a chemical mix as a young girl, sympathy for her quickly faded when the young man who pushed her in died in a mining accident just two days later. From then on she was regarded with a mixture of suspicion and fascination by her God-fearing community.
Now, years later, she is a single mother, caught up in a faltering affair with a local teacher. Her son, Sandy, has fallen in love with a strange homeless girl. The search for happiness isn't easy. Both mother and son must face a dark secret from their past, in the growing knowledge that their small dramas are being played out against a much larger canvas, glimpsed only in symbols and flickering images - of decay and regrowth, of fire and water - of the flood.