Tora Hamilton is an outsider at her new home on the rocky, wind-swept Shetland Islands, a hundred miles from the northeastern tip of Scotland. Digging in the peat on their new property, Tora unearths what is first believed to be a centuries-old bog body. But in fact the female corpse is much newer, her heart has been cut out and she was killed within a few days of bearing a child. Tora, herself an obstetrician, becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her--even when the police, her colleagues and eventually her husband warn her against getting involved.
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