With her acclaimed novels The Plague Tales and The Burning Road, Ann Benson has carved out a unique place on the literary landscape with her fascinating alchemy of mystery, history, and psychological terror. Now this gifted storyteller returns with an astounding tale of two crime waves separated by nearly 600 years. In each, the victims are children. In each, the perpetrator is a man of power and renown. And in each, the pursuit of justice is spearheaded by a woman who has seen the face of evil up close–and whose own life is entwined with a madman’s.
In the city of Nantes, in the year 1440, a woman hurries through the cobblestoned streets. Her world of faith, loyalty, and family is buckling under the weight of her suspicions about a dead child…and others who may have met the same fate–all at the hands of the same killer–the infamous Gilles de Rais. Soon Guillemette le Drappière, companion to the Bishop of Nantes, is investigating the young nobleman she helped raise from infancy. To unravel the truth, Guillemette must enter a dark realm of power, perversion, bloodlust–and bring to it the unforgiving light of the church she serves.
In the city of Los Angeles, in the year 2002, a detective gets the kind of call she dreads most: “My child is gone.” Lany Dunbar, a mother, a cop, and a veteran of human horrors, cannot be prepared for where this search will lead her. For within days, Lany is certain that this missing-child case has exposed the work of a serial killer. At odds with her own department, sure that her killer is becoming more emboldened, Lany zeroes in on a suspect–while a suspect zeroes in on her.…
Two horrific crime sprees. Two extraordinary eras. The connections between them are at once eerie, compelling, and surprising. Only Ann Benson can weave together the strands of history and suspense with such mastery. Skillfully blending past and present, myth and reality, Benson catapults us from an age when wolves ran wild through the streets of Paris to an age of high-tech criminal profiling. A riveting, rousing adventure through time, history, and forensic science, Thief of Souls introduces two unforgettable characters, separated by centuries, linked by a passionate quest for justice. For in a race to stop monsters from more monstrous crimes, both women will discover a frightening truth: that within a killer is a child, and within a child are seeds of both innocence and evil.