His Bloody Project



“An astonishing piece of writing…a voice that sounds startlingly authentic.” – The Telegraph

Brilliantly fabricated . . .This is also a novel on which Robert Louis Stevenson might have bestowed envy.” – The Observer

“This is a fiendishly readable tale that richly deserves the wider attention the Booker has brought it.” – The Guardian

A spellbinding piece of serious new fiction … Riveting, dark and ingeniously constructed.” – Sunday Times


In 1869, a brutal triple murder in the remote Wester Ross village of Culduie leads to the arrest of a seventeen-year-old crofter, Roderick Macrae. There is no question of Macrae’s guilt, but it falls to the country’s most eminent legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to his bloody deeds. Ultimately, the young man’s fate hinges on one key question: is he insane?

The story ingeniously unfolds through a series of found documents, including police statements; the accused’s prison memoir; the account of renowned psychiatrist, J. Bruce Thomson; and a report of the trial, compiled from contemporary newspapers.


seinblutigesprojekt“Burnet is a writer of great skill and authority.”Financial Times

“The Man Booker judges got it right: this really is one of the most convincing and engrossing novels of the year.”The Scotsman

“Macrae Burnet makes such masterly use of the narrative form that the horrifying tale he tells . . . seems plucked straight out of Scotland’s sanguinary historical archives.” – New York Times

“Dream-like, blatant, brutal and very funny  . . . The story is good; even more impressive are the bravura characterisation, vibrant use of language and the offbeat, tetchy exchanges.” – The Irish Times

Utterly compelling from the first page.” – Jon Day, Man Booker Prize judge

“A truly ingenious thriller as confusingly multi-layered as an Escher staircase” – Daily Express

“A masterful psychological thriller” – Ian Stephen, author of A Book of Death and Fish

“A gripping crime story, a deeply imagined historical novel, and gloriously written – all in one tour-de-force of a book. Stevensonian – that’s the highest praise I can give.” – Sunday Herald, Books of the Year

“Psychologically astute and convincingly grounded in its environment, this study of petty persecution and murder is a fine achievement from an ambitious and accomplished writer.” – The National

Masterful, clever and playful . . . one of the most experimental and assured authors currently writing in Scotland” – A Novel Bookblog

“One of the most enjoyable and involving novels you’ll read this year”- Scots Wha Hae

Published by Saraband. You can buy it here or here.

One response to “His Bloody Project

  1. A truly wonderful read. The use of language is as beautiful as it is rare to find. I cannot wait to see what he will write next. The characters are beautifully crafted, complex and entirely credible.

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