Sawney Beane: The Abduction of Elspeth Cumming

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In 1593, off the coast of Galloway, Scotland, a family of 48 people lived in a cave and practiced both incest and cannibalism. They would attack and kill anyone who ventured close to their hideout, drink their blood, and feed on their body parts. Sawney Beane’s wife, Nettie, was very good at “dividing up the spoils.” When traveling home from a convent, Elspeth Cumming and her brother were captured. Her brother was brutally killed, and one of Sawney’s sons took her to a secluded part of the cave where she was kept alive and away from his family.

Ms. Gates has written a page-turner of a novel, a historical thriller with a touch of the macabre. It is not for the squeamish or for those who enjoy historical romance, because this novel does have an unusual love story. I must admit this novel was not exactly what I expected from someone who is better known for her books for children. Even though the story is based on a 1734 publication by Daniel Defoe, I found it hard to believe that a family of cannibals could coexist with the general population and kill over a thousand people over a period of several years without getting caught. That said, I enjoyed the novel. The tale was well written, with excellent character development, especially with regard to Sawney Beane and Nettie, detailing how they changed from their youth as outcasts to become the evil couple that interbred and turned to cannibalism.

 

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Details

Publisher

Published

Genre

Period

Century

Price
(US) $14.95

ISBN
(US) 9780981453606

Format
Paperback

Pages
256