Troubador The Well of The Dead

Released: 28/04/2017

ISBN: 9781788036634

eISBN: 9781785897894

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Well of The Dead

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“The constable had ducked under the lintel and cautiously edged his way into the property with a stolidness becoming of his twenty-two years of police service. What he had discovered inside had brought him staggering out again, pale and staring, the sweet taste of vomit rising in his throat.”

In April 2010, the brutal murders of distillery owner, Duncan Fraser, and his wife Laura, shock the small rural community of Glenruthven in the Scottish Highlands. The ensuing police investigation unearths an ancient clan feud… and a mystery dating back to 1746 and the Battle of Culloden.

Detective Inspector Neil Strachan, who we first met in Clive’s first novel, The Drumbeater, once again finds himself delving into the past, as he and his partner, Sergeant Holly Anderson, go head to head with a ruthless and violent criminal, apparently obsessed with his Jacobite ancestry. Strachan also faces problems of his own. His long-term partner is acting strangely, causing him to suspect that she is having an affair. His determination to bring the Frasers’ killer to justice, and to uncover the truth behind his erring partner’s behaviour, take him on a journey to a place he never wanted to be. It is a place where his personal and professional priorities become blurred; a place where both his judgement and reputation are on the line.

The Well of the Dead is not the usual dysfunctional, urban detective novel, but one in which the adventures are played out amongst the rugged beauty of Britain’s last great wilderness. Inspired by Mark Billingham, Brian Callison and Elly Griffiths, Clive Allan’s latest novel is a gripping crime thriller with an historical twist. It will primarily appeal to readers of Scottish and detective fiction.

Clive’s first novel, The Drumbeater, received large amounts of media attention and was featured in Scots News, The Scots Magazine, Narpo News, Scottish Field Magazine and Police World.

“A gripping and intelligent tale which seamlessly spans 250 years told through wonderfully authentic characters. Superb!” – Graham Bartlett, Times bestselling co-author of Death Comes Knocking.

The Dorset Book Detective

Promoting Crime Fiction

The Scots Magazine

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Undiscovered Scotland

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Excellent second book from this author, my husband can't put it down.

by C Humphrey


I received this book last weekend & started reading almost immediately. It is a long book, over 600 pages & it has taken me until Sunday this weekend to finish it. I like the way Clive Allan interweaves the past & present together. I also found myself looking at maps of the area whilst reading too as it's not a part of Scotland I'm familiar with. All week I have resisted the temptation to read too many chapters until today with 200 pages left I couldn't put it down. I love the main character Neil Strachan & his partner Cat & am looking forward to more books from Clive Allan. I kept thinking that I knew who the culprits were throughout the book only to find I was wrong about some & correct about others. Highly recommend this book (& the previous one, The Drumbeater)

by PD


A wonderful read!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A page turner until the end.

by Abigail Tannock


Wow. I must admit that I have a soft spot for stories like this, and Mr. Allan did a fantastic job on weaving a history in with a modern day mystery. The writing of the scenery was so clear that I could envision it with no troubles at all. Of course the fact that Scotland and its history are one of my favorite things didn't hurt! I did have one minor pet peeve that kept me from giving this book 5 stars, and that was all the exclamation points. They were everywhere, and it drove me nuts. Reminded me of Brian Lumley's books, and how fond he seemed to be of scattering exclamation marks all over the place! Still, the story was solid, and I liked the characters. Especially Holly. One thing's for sure, I will be reading more from Mr. Allan. Yep, I'd recommend this book and author.

by Lisa Cleveland-Hull


Clive Allan's previous novel, 'The Drumbeater', left a lasting impression on me. Therefore, my anticipation of 'The Well of the Dead' could not have been greater. Incidentally, I thought the magnificent trailer for this second book was the best I've ever seen - a mesmerising aerial view of a beautiful Highland wilderness accompanied by a captivating, haunting and evocative Gaelic song (once heard never forgotten).
Produced to an extremely high standard, with a terrific cover that captures the heart of the story in a simple but striking image, this is a very long read that speaks volumes about Allan's professionalism and dedication to his craft. It could easily be the basis of two novels in one; a historical novel and contemporary crime thriller which play off against each other with masterful juxtaposition throughout the gripping narrative.
The former is set during The Battle of Culloden in 1746. The writing of this obviously involved a huge amount of painstaking research and all credit to Allan for this. The amount of detail and description in these scenes creates a breathtaking atmosphere that at no point thwarts the narrative's pace, drawing the reader so close to the action that the dampness of the Scots' mist rolling over the heather virtually becomes a tangible sensation. This offers the reader wonderful entertainment, paragraph after paragraph. Also, whilst the dialogue is consistently authentic and completely believable, above and beyond this I thought Allan does something extremely clever in his writing of the historical prose - his narrative voice comes straight from that period. I found this engaging and very impressive.
Everything changes whenever Allan switches to the 2010 police investigation of several major crimes. The risk of spoilers necessitates brevity at this point. Suffice to say that Allan uses his first-hand experience of such matters to good effect and creates a terrific storyline that is delivered with great skill and understated authority. And when the pace quickens, be prepared for a graphic and fast ride.
'The Drumbeater' was published in 2013 and it has taken almost four years for 'The Well of the Dead' to join it. In a world where there's often considerable pressure on an author to bring the manuscript to print as soon as possible, a wait of several years is, I think, something to be applauded. Allan must have worked tirelessly, month on month and year on year, to craft a product of such impressive depth and substance. This is a courageous and remarkable thing and I have no doubt that this book would stand head and shoulders above many titles in mainstream publishing. The Well of the Dead'. Once read, never forgotten.

by Marcus Case


Enthralling throughout, crimes, history and great characters. My attention was gripped from start to finish with the plots and sub plots but never confusing just downright enjoyable. A really good read !

by Sue Bloomfield (NetGalley)


A great book - cannot recommend highly enough. Get it as soon as you can.

by Sharon Squire (NetGalley)


I would like to thank Netgalley and Matador for a review copy of The Well of the Dead, a police procedural set in Inverness and its environs featuring DI Neil Strachan. great modern thriller with tangible links to 1746.

by Susan Anne Burton


Clive Allan

I have always loved writing, even as a small boy, often composing short stories for my own amusement during the school holidays. Then as a teenager, I was lucky enough to be taught by a larger than life English teacher who did much to inspire me in terms of creative writing. I went on to study English literature at college, and having examined in detail the works of some of our literary greats, I often dreamed of becoming a novelist. But the realities of life kicked in, and having first considered a military career, I eventually ended up in the police service. For thirty years, any desire to write was well and truly curbed.

My literary efforts during this time were almost exclusively restricted to crime reports and witness statements…which, ironically, I often enjoyed writing…although I must stress they were never fiction!! I have never regretted my time in the police service. My career was hugely rewarding and I worked with some wonderful people. But all good things come to an end! As retirement finally loomed, I promised myself that I would one day write that elusive novel, and encouraged by my long suffering wife, I set out to do so.

Like many writers, I naturally sought to exploit areas of knowledge in which I had a strong grounding. Naturally, policing was one of them, having worked in a number of specialist roles and ranks during a very varied and eventful career.

Being a male child of the sixties, I was also brought up on the many dramatic tales from World War Two, still circulating strongly twenty years after the last shots had been fired. Not surprisingly then, my long held fascination with all things historical, developed into a profound interest in every aspect of military history, a subject that still captivates me today.

Although I am most definitely a Sassenach, I have always had a love of Scotland. I suppose it is the wildness of the place, and the rugged beauty of Britain’s last great wilderness. Then, having married into a Scottish family, my connection with the land “north of the border” became well and truly cemented. In 2004, we bought a second home in the northern Highlands, and since then, we have enjoyed many happy years exploring every nook and cranny of this wonderful region.

So having drawn upon thirty years police experience, my interest in military history and a profound knowledge of the Scottish Highlands, I created Detective Inspector Neil Strachan. He is not the usual dysfunctional urban detective, often portrayed in the crime novels we read, but an academic, a graduate historian struggling to build a reputation in the gritty world of modern day policing. He is based on the real detectives I have had the pleasure of working with, mostly unassuming characters, committed to their job, but also their families and a life outside of the police service.

Strachan’s adventures are played out in a setting rarely focused upon in detective novels. Both The Drumbeater and The Well of the Dead are a blend of the past and the present. Both stories, although very different, develop along their own distinctive lines, which finally coalesce to produce, what I hope readers will agree, is an impactive climax. I very much hope you enjoy them!

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