Dark Waters

Book 1 of the Lonely Island Series

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Pub Date 28 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 02 Apr 2023

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On a stormy winter’s night on a remote island in the wild North Atlantic, something draws Marie down to the beach, where she finds a small girl, barely alive. Who is she? How did she come to be there? The mystery grows, because nobody on the island seems to know of a missing child. 

When Marie meets Malcolm, who is returning to the island after years away, the two team up, and together they try to solve the mystery. Perhaps romance is inevitable, but the discovery of a group of climate refugees, hidden away near one of the most remote beaches, is the last thing the two expect. Nor is it clear how these strangers come to be there, and who is controlling them, or why. In the company of a local police officer and an absurdly young minister of the kirk, the friends unearth the secret of the refugees, and the villains who have held them there for so long. But discovering the truth is not the same as freeing the people, a task that nearly costs them their homes and their lives.

Dark Waters is rich in the culture of the island, En-Somi. The customs are ancient, the dialect unique, and the story has a wealth of characters of all ages, from young Marigold, a daughter of one of those held in slavery, or Frankie, the leader of the refugees, to the ancient bard, Olaf. Pick up this novel and you will find it hard to put it down again, and when you have read it, you will find it easy to believe that you have actually been there.

On a stormy winter’s night on a remote island in the wild North Atlantic, something draws Marie down to the beach, where she finds a small girl, barely alive. Who is she? How did she come to be...

A Note From the Publisher

Maggie Allder grew up in Cambridgeshire and studied in Winchester, Richmond (Virginia) and Reading, and taught for 36 years. She is a Quaker and a volunteer for the non-profit 'Human Writes' which befriends prisoners on American death rows through letter writing. She has previously written five other novels.

Maggie Allder grew up in Cambridgeshire and studied in Winchester, Richmond (Virginia) and Reading, and taught for 36 years. She is a Quaker and a volunteer for the non-profit 'Human...

Advance Praise

From the author of Courting Rendition (2017), The Song of the Lost Boy (2018), and Beyond the Water Meadows (2021).

From the author of Courting Rendition (2017), The Song of the Lost Boy (2018), and Beyond the Water Meadows (2021).

Available Editions

ISBN 9781803133904
PRICE £4.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 19 members

Featured Reviews

I have to compliment the way this is written first. It written from the perspective of an old woman recounting a tale. There are these fantastic moments when you are reminded of that perspective. For instance she will say "we later found out that three fingers were broken." or she will describe how the weather was that year. It is absolutely flawless because she it all flows in a way that feel authentic.
That takes true talent.
The story is lovely. I loved the characters. I loved the setting and the cultures. It has everything.

Thank you for this ARC.

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A really good read, I’ve not read much from the author but I am going to read them all as I really enjoyed this one

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In recent years the Scottish Islands have provided rugged backdrops to a spate of fiction: the excellent Shetland series by Ann Cleeves, and the superb Lewis trilogy by Peter May. Now, Maggie Allder weighs in with a stunning thriller.
The author takes one to the heart of human darkness in a tense, evocative story that is claustrophobic and set in a time when the world has been ravaged by apocalyptic climate change. The writing is impressive, addressing through fiction some of the real problems facing an overpopulated world today. I loved this uniqueness of the central quartet of characters: Marie, Malcolm, the newly arrived vicar, and the young policeman. I walked every step of the way across En-Somi with them in my heart.

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Wow what a book thank you ever so much for the opportunity to review. I could not put it down. Would definitely recommend to others

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"Dark Waters," has great characters and a strong sense of place. It is an apocalyptic thriller, told in the voice of an older, wise woman, which adds to the feeling of it being a cautionary folktale. Highly recommended if you are looking to be lost in a book, and place. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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In a not too distant future, climate change has resulted in the loss of many habitable places in the world including the UK where a lot of the English east coast has been claimed by the sea. On En-Somi, a remote island in the wild North Atlantic, Marie finds a small child by the seashore. The child is cold & wet & sadly does not survive. Nobody seems to know where she came from. Along with Malcolm, a recently returned islander, they try to find out who she is. Their search takes them to the abandoned airport where a group of refugees are trying to survive. Along with the newly arrived vicar & a junior policeman they try to solve the mystery.

I absolutely loved this book! The description of the island & their way of life was captivating (living in Shetland helped to a degree!)The characters felt 'real' & easy to identify with. For a while I lived in that place & didn't want to leave. I do hope there is more to come soon. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this fabulous book.

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I got this book this morning and just finished it. I started reading it while we were on the drive down to Charlotte.

I was engrossed in this book from the beginning. It was a quick read but a good one.

This is the first book of "The Lonely Island Series."
Marie finds a small girl in a beach barely alive but no one knows who she is or where she came from. Marie meets Malcom who has just come back to the island from being away. Enter the beginning of a romance. Together the two team up to solve thy mystery of a group of local refugees tucked away in the most remote part of the island. They ultimately discover who has held them. It'll be a dangerous task to free them.

I enjoyed the parallels to current events that we are facing today. This was a fun, exciting, mysterious read.

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Dark Waters is told narrative style by our main character, Marie, a resident of a remote North Atlantic island. The story begins with her finding a young girl on the beach by her cottage and ends up somewhere that I didn’t expect.

This book grabbed my interest from the beginning. I quickly became engrossed with the setting. The descriptions of the island were great. This book sparked a slight obsession with the beauty of the Scottish and Shetland landscapes. It gives cozy vibes, for sure.

This books strengths: the setting and the culture of the island…. LOVED that part. I spent a significant amount of time taking breaks to look at Google earth images of islands I imagine En-Somi to be (I pictured Fair Isles). I loved the salt of the earth people who were described living there (some of them, at least).

Where this book lost stars: I cannot deny that I did get bored mid-book. It felt quite slow for a book described as a thriller. This book was more focused on the culture with hints at bigger themes (climate change, refugees, human rights) than the mystery, and even those themes are barely delved into. It feels underdeveloped, which is a bit of a bummer because it had a lot of potential.

Overall it is a 2.75 ⭐️ for me. I’d recommend it for the setting alone. Thank you, Maggie Allder, for sparking my obsession with North Atlantic islands… I’d like to start planning my trip now.

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This book is deeply moving, darkly enticing. It covers a lot of humanity's failing with no holds barred. Told in retrospect, it tells of a lost child that no one is missing, a small island and the power of nature. Man's impact on all of this is obvious and a big part of this story where humanity is flawed and the damage irredeemable. It flows with mystery and intrigue at it's heart and beauty and imagination it's soul. I was hooked from the start, highly recommend.

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Marie, the main character and narrator throughout Maggie Allder’s Dark Waters, is compelling and such an interesting character. This book kept my interest from start to finish; the beautifully described settings (I’m here for anything set in Scotland or North Atlantic Islands) and the carefully woven warnings about climate change/ caring for and about the environment, human rights, and refugees. I thought the ending was a little bit abrupt, but I also recognize that this is the first in a series, and so that is the likely explanation. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this story and to see where the characters take us next!

Special thanks to Net Galley and Matador Publishing for providing this advance reader copy to me in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Dark Waters is a beautifully written slow-burn type of story. I found myself comparing the storytelling elements of this book to James Herriott's All Creatures Great and Small, where the characters and their environment are just as important as the adventure/mystery that develops over time. The characters are all very real and well done. I also enjoyed the post-climate emergency setting where climate changes are causing major world disruption, but this is mentioned naturally and just something the characters are dealing with. I do feel that the ending was very abrupt, but then again, this is book 1 of a series. I am very interested to see what happens in the next one, more specifically around the outcasts in the story, and definitely recommend this book as one to get lost in. If you like TV shows like Shetland and Vera, you will feel at home with this book.

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Captivating story that draws you in from the start, well descriptive with interesting characters. Such a dark feeling to the cover. Thank you netgalley for the advanced copy.

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I was given access to this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This has been one of the most enjoyable books that I’ve read in a long time! I fell in love with the characters and their island lives. The setting of En-Somi reminded me of holidays in the Scottish Highlands and I could picture everything so clearly.
The plot was a rollercoaster and a pleasure to read. No gore or gruesome detail to deter those who dislike it, just an interesting mystery story set in (what sounds like) beautiful surroundings.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book - I appreciate it when a story is written from a unique perspective, and this one was for sure. I will be recommending this one to my fellow booklovers!

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-slow burning mystery
- apocalyptic near future
- well thought out characters
-unique perspective
I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next in the series!
It captured my interest early on and the slow burn was interesting enough to keep the pages turning til the end! The story didn’t seem rushed and the ending left me wanting the next book to see where the story goes!

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Thank you to @netgalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

On a stormy winter’s night on a remote island in the wild North Atlantic, something draws Marie down to the beach, where she finds a small girl, barely alive. Who is she? How did she come to be there? The mystery grows, because nobody on the island seems to know of a missing child.

I enjoyed this book! It was a quick read for me even though there were a few times I got a little bored. It picked back up quickly though. I really fell in love with the characters and their lives on the island.

Also, I didn't know this beforehand that this book is actually the first in a series called The Lonely Island Series. I am always down for a good book series so I am excited for the next one!

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The character development was beautifully written in this book, with the details of their island life written so well! I was captivated into this book from the start!! I can't wait for the next book in this series !!

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