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Lake of Sorrows

A magnificent tale of death and destiny, past and present, in an Ireland rich with tradition, myth, and mystery.

Death hangs heavy in the disturbed air of Ireland's lonely Loughnabrone peat bog, an ancient holy place, steeped in legend, drowned in sorrow, and long since abandoned by man. Pathologist Nora Gavin has been called to an archaeological site in the bleak midlands west of Dublin—a place known as the LAKE OF SORROWS—to assist at an excavation where a well-preserved Iron Age body has been found in a bog.

But moments after her arrival a much more recent victim is discovered. Like the ancient body, the new corpse bears multiple wounds, suggesting the ghastly ritual sacrifice of Ireland's blood-soaked pagan past. How many hundreds or thousands of years ago was the man killed? Was his a ritual death, some kind of sacrifice? These academic questions are intriguing, but of much more urgent interest is the second body found nearby—of a man wearing a wristwatch, hardly an Iron Age accessory. But his corpse does show strange similarities to that of his ancient counterpart. Both bodies bear signs of "triple death," a primitive practice in which a victim was ritually slain three ways, perhaps to appease some pagan trinity.

Nora and archaeologist Cormac Maguire, embroiled in a tumultuous love affair, must team up again professionally, and are soon enmeshed in the web of tangled desires and terrible secrets that surround this untimely death. The danger mounts, fueled by illicit liaisons, rumors of ancient gold, and one person's thirst for vengeance. Nora and Cormac must tread carefully, for as they draw closer to the truth, they come ever nearer to becoming the next victims of a ruthless killer. A magnificent follow-up to a sensational debut, LAKE OF SORROWS again weaves together history, folklore, and forensics, conjuring the dark character of the Irish countryside in a complex and chilling thriller.

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Scribner, Paperback, (August 2007), ISBN-13: 9781416541301


  • Minnesota Book Award Finalist, 2005
  • Best Mysteries 2004, Barnes & Noble Staff Favorites
  • BookSense Pick, Mysteries & Thrillers, December 2004

"Hart spins another uncanny tale linking the bizarre bloodletting practices of the ancients with modern acts of violence... More a brooding presence than a dramatic backdrop, the bog is 'a mysterious, holy place, home to spirits and strange mists, a place of transformation and danger' that works a spell on people with a need to connect to their ancestral past. Hart taps into this deep vein of regional superstition, creating characters whose eccentricities have been handed down in their bloodlines."
   —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"Myriad twists and turns juice the plot and deepen the atmosphere in Hart's moody second offering."
   —Kirkus Reviews

"Full of riches for readers who savor the multidimensionality of literary fiction."

" emotionally and intellectually gorgeous descent. Hart's language sings..."
   —Publishers Weekly

"Hart is at her best binding the lives of her characters to the history and traditions of the Irish midlands... personal detail and local history give LAKE OF SORROWS a heft and richness uncommon in contemporary suspense novels."
   —Minneapolis Star Tribune

"This is a novel well worth reading—well worth buying in hardcover, in fact—for all those who like their mysteries intricately woven, their protagonists and antagonists complex, their sense of place realistic, and their archaeology informative. LAKE OF SORROWS gets four trowels."
   —Bill Gresens, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

"Nora Gavin, the complex forensic pathologist last seen in Erin Hart's bestselling novel HAUNTED GROUND, returns in this spellbinding neo-Gothic sequel set in the haunted hinterlands of Ireland. With two winners under her belt, Hart is now teasing us with rumors of a third entry in this highly addictive series. We can't wait!"
   —Barnes & Noble, Best Mysteries of 2004 Selection

"LAKE OF SORROWS is that elusive pot of gold at the end of an Irish rainbow. A beautifully told mystery, lush in its language, rich in history and characters, full of ancient rites and modern treacheries, this is a treasure of a tale."
   —William Kent Krueger, Anthony Award-winning author of HEAVEN'S KEEP

"LAKE OF SORROWS is a terrific book. Erin Hart's writing is lyrical, suspenseful, and highly recommended."
   —Alafair Burke, author of MISSING JUSTICE and JUDGMENT CALLS