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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  3,559 ratings  ·  449 reviews
In this masterful debut that starts off as a mystery and becomes much more, ToraHamilton is an outsider at her new home on the rocky, wind-swept Shetland Islands, a hundred miles from the northeastern tip of Scotland.Though her husbandgrew up here, it’s the first time he’s been back in twenty years.Digging in the peat on their new property, Tora unearths a human body, at f ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Minotaur Books (first published 2008)
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Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenMe Before You by Jojo MoyesThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
2013: What the Over 35s Have Read So Far
121st out of 2,654 books — 319 voters
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4th out of 39 books — 10 voters

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Rating: 4.5 stars

I loved this. It's so creepy and chilling, and packed full of gripping suspense.

Something sinister is happening to young women out on the remote Shetland Islands. Ancient island legends appear to be coming true in the most horrifying of ways, leading the reader into a tension filled page turner.

As Tora (our heroine) begins to uncover disturbing evidence and folklore, everyone falls under suspicion. Many theories are formed, and with one shocking twist after another, my head was
Very enjoyable murder mystery/drama set in the Shetland Islands. I love the characters Bolton creates - they are complex and real which gives her writing depth.
My only complaint is that she went a bit overboard with the details at times but there was only a small amount of shouting 'get on with it'!
The plot is pretty OTT but not in a bad way IMO and although the main character Tora is robust, stubborn and outspoken I really liked her!
It is worth noting that if you like Bolton's Lacey Flint serie
My first reading experience of author S.J. Bolton, but it will not be my last. Bolton writes the kind of books I especially relish; spooky, mysterious and historical mixed with murder and a dash of romance against an appealing setting (in this case, the wild, lonely Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland).

Bolton's research into some of the ancient legends of the Shetlands is woven into the story and creates a truely atmospheric tale of sacrificial murder, community secrets, page tur
Andrew Murray
Oct 20, 2010 Andrew Murray rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Andrew by: readers on Goodreads!
I'm very surprised by the number of favourable reviews here on this book. In my view this is a very poorly written piece of fiction - so poor that I gave up after about 70 pages.

Why poorly written? There are too many instances where the writer is "telling" instead of "showing". Whole sections devoted to the obvious research which the writer has done and which she feels needs to be replicated in her novel. I got the impression that she might have used "cut and paste" to lift large chunks of her n
Joanne Sheppard
Like a lot of people, I often aim for an easy read when I'm on holiday. I may not be one for lying on a beach - hence my choice of destination; so far temperatures have peaked at a balmy 13C - but a 'beach read' is still a pleasure now and again even if you're actually reading it in the cabin of an overnight ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick. On this trip, I opted for Shetland-set thriller Sacrifice by SJ Bolton. I'd read another of her horror-tinged page-turners, Blood Harvest (also on holiday) an ...more
The mystery and suspense in S.J. Bolton's debut novel aren't its only attractions--although there is plenty of both to please the most devoted fan of the genre. For me it was the unique setting and the carefully-crafted backstory that made the book a good read.

Bolton takes us to what seems like the ends of the earth. The setting is actually the Shetland Islands, the wind-racked and wave-torn granite outposts a hundred miles northeast of the Scottish mainland. The damp, violent climate and glower
Lance Greenfield
Grim, gripping and gruesome

There are several intertwined storylines running through this book.

The narration in the first person by Tora Hamilton, a consultant surgeon, an outsider in the Shetland Isles, despite her husband's local roots, works very well.

The whole saga begins with Tora digging a hole in her field to bury the body of her recently deceased horse. She is shocked to find a well-wrapped human body at the bottom of her pit. Is it an ancient burial? Is it a recent murder victim? Who is
Candace Burton
Dear authors of thrillers, please do not construct your narrative so that the protagonist needs to spend several pages creeping around alone, in the dark. You are asking to have pages skipped until quotation marks begin reappearing. Having said this, however, I thought Bolton's first book (I was surprised this was her debut; I read Awakening first and it has such a different and so much less complex construction that I assumed it came first) was pretty clever and a good example of psychological ...more
Wow! Just…wow! I’m so glad I decided to read S.J. Bolton's debut novel. I have read more recent ones, and been very impressed, so thought I’d give this one a go!

The story is centred around Shetland Island in Scotland, where ancient legends abound and terrifying stories of mysterious happenings weave their way into everyday life. Tora Hamilton and her husband Duncan had just moved to remote Shetland, and although Duncan was originally from there, he hadn’t been back for 20 years. Tora got herself
Sandra Duncan
This book is all right as a light read but it has serious flaws.

1. It is far too long. It quickly reached the point for me that I lost patience with the unbelievable plot drivers. Too many people doing too many unexplainably daft things to keep the story going.

2. A whole series of one-dimensional characters - a medical consultant who left all financial dealings to her husband and was unaware that he received regular payments into his bank account from an unknown source!

3. The author has research
Shellie (Layers of Thought)

I devoured this murder mystery. It is a definite page turner as the author's writing is easy to follow and kept me up till past midnight.

The story is based lightly upon some ancient myths from where it's set - The Shetland Islands off the Northern Coast of Scotland. This legend involves Nordic trolls (I love trolls), giving this novel a bit of a supernatural edge. However this doesn't shift its anchor in reality. It just gives the story a slight other worldly flavor. Delish!

The story reminded m
I couldn't believe this was a debut novel, the writing is slick, compelling and the main character drew me in from the first page.

Tora Guthrie is an obstetrician whose husband, Duncan has brought them back to his home Island of Shetland to live after a twenty year absence, but when he suggests they go 'home', Tora finds a job in the local hospital and Duncan buys an old house.

Things begin to go wrong when Tora accidentally digs up the body of a local woman on her land. Wrapped in linen and burie
Aug 03, 2011 Carol rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those liking fast based thrillers with strong female characters
Recommended to Carol by: Beth M
Shelves: fiction
Beth could say "I told you so". She's the friend who recommended Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton to me some time ago. Who knows why I didn't pick it up immediately as Beth and I have like tastes in fiction; not just in thrillers but across the board. Beth told me I'd like this one and she was right!

Tora Hamilton is having a bad day. Her beloved horse Jamie has died and Tora plans to illegally bury him on her Shetland property. Her husband's away so she'll need to do this alone, no easy task for this in
The setting captured me first: Shetland, subarctic archipelago more than one hundred miles north-east of the Scottish coast. A land of granite and peat bogs, lying under rainy grey skies and battered by wind and waves. It is so vividly captured, so right for the dark, almost gothic, storyline, and its character and legends will become part of that story.

The story opens dramatically, on a stormy evening with the light slowly fading. A woman is determined to give her beloved horse a proper burial,
Janset Atacan
Kocaman bir ''Aman Tanrım!'' ile başlamak istiyorum çünkü Kurban son zamanlarda okuduğum en iyi kitaplardan biriydi ve büyük bir ihtimalle önümüzdeki 5 gün yeni bir kitaba başlayamayacağım.
Kurban,insan olmanın ne demek olduğunu,getirilerini ve bizden götürdüklerini anlatıyor.Otuz üç yaşındaki Tora eşi Duncan ile birlikte Shetland Adalarına taşınıyor.Ve evlerindeki ilk günlerde Tora bahçesinde bir ceset buluyor.Troll efsanelerinden fırlamış işaretlerle süslü (!) kalbi koparılmış bir kadın.Yazar k
After moving to Shetland with her husband, Dr. Tora Hamilton discovers a corpse buried in the peaty soil of the field behind their new home. The body of a young woman, her heart cut out and runes carved into the flesh of her back.

Runes? Bolton introduces the idea to her characters as if no one possibly could have heard of runes before. Or Shetland, as information about the islands feels as if it's been cribbed from Wikipedia, and embellished with descriptions from a Lonely Planet.

Sacrifice isn't
Great debut novel, although not one of my favourite pieces of work by this author. Nevertheless, it is well worth a read!

The book comes with a gripping storyline, questionable characters, twists and turns, and everything else necessary to keep a person on the edge of their seats. From the start you’re curious towards the history of this strange murder, with your interesting growing ever more as the secrets start to unfold. Also for those people interested in romance the book contains aspects to
The British Isles are replete with folklore, and in the remoteness of the Shetland Islands, natives still tell tales about the Trows, little grey men who fear iron, love silver, and reside in the rolling hillsides. For their race to continue, the Trows must mate with human females. S. J. Bolton, whose given name is Sharon, builds her debut mystery around these legends to great effect.

Tora Hamilton is an OB/Gyn who relocates with her husband, who was born there, to the Shetlands. She enjoys her
Catherine Woodman
Both gripping and gruesome, `Sacrifice' is a definite page-turner, that is certain to keep you on your toes. When I first started reading it I wasn't sure that I'd get far with it, the writing was different to those I had read recently. However within a few chapters I was hooked and racing along with the narrative. Tora Hamilton took me a little while to warm to, perhaps this is why I was unsure at the start but I soon became caught up with her life.
The plot revolves around a discovery Tora mak
Tora Hamilton and her husband Duncan have recently moved from the the British mainland to the remote Shetland Islands, his childhood home and a place to which he hasn't returned since leaving for university. Engaged in her own risky and illegal behavior, burying her beloved horse Jamie, Tora unearths another body altogether, that of a young woman. And that's where the fun begins. Unable to put the woman out of her mind, suspicious of what she perceives as a cover-up, and against direct orders of ...more
SJ Bolton has just been added to my list of favorite authors!

Sacrifice was my second novel by Bolton; I first discovered this British author with her second novel Awakening—a unique and sharply-written mystery focused around a unexplained exotic snake epidemic in a small Dorset community. Sacrifice, her debut novel, is every bit as dark and compelling with a page-turning plot combining local Scottish lore with the accidental discovery of a murdered woman possessing Norse runes carved into her fl
34 year old Tora Hamilton is a consultant surgeon who has recently moved to the remote Shetland islands with her native Islander husband Duncan, who himself has been away for 20 years. The story begins with Tora digging a hole to bury one of her horses when she discovers the perfectly preserved body of a young woman in the peat soil situated on her newly purchased property. What is even more unsettling for Tora is that the woman's heart has been removed and there are strange symbols carved onto ...more
My bookcrossing review:

Well, this was a bit of a disappointment. It's a generic, twee mystery-thriller that isn't too hard to figure out as you go along. To be fair, it is easy reading and does serve a purpose as it is very good if you're after a quick read for holidays, travelling etc.

It's about this woman, Tora, who is married to a Shetlander. They move up to the Shetlands, he to start some business and her to work with pregnant women at the hospital. And one day, Tora digs up a corpse in thei
Louise (Aunt Agatha, from the Death in the Stacks blog) turned me on to this writer. But Louise has only read the latest two of her books, whereas I decided (being a little OCD about my reading) to go back to the beginning and start reading Bolton's books from her debut, which was this one. Now I have read two, and definitely plan to keep going. Her protagonists so far are women in unusual professions and offbeat settings, and they cross that line from mystery to thriller, almost to gothic. They ...more
S.J. Bolton 'Sacrifice' is a thriller that knows exactly what a thriller should be; it features cliff hangers at the end of every chapter that drive you to read on until your eye lids drop. It is a medical mystery thriller following the story of Tora Hamilton, a Consultant Surgeon, after she discovers a dead body, preserved in peat, in her garden. The unusual markings on the woman's body suggest a ritualistic sacrifice. Teased by the mysteries Tora feels compelled to pursue them. The only proble ...more
This book was what I want every book I read to be, a book I don't want to end. Bolton's deft handling of a complex plot was some great writing, which in turn gave me some great reading. The main characters became people I didn't want to let go of. After finishing this book, I raced to the library to see if they had Bolton's next two books, this amazing one being her first, but was disappointed to find them both checked out. I can't wait too long to continue reading this gifted author, so I might ...more
Really enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down. I will be reading more of Sharon Bolton. Awakening next.
Set in the wildly savage, starkly beautiful landscape of the Shetland islands is a murder mystery told with page turning urgency and attention to detail.
Tora has left her London home to relocate to the place of her husband's birth. Duncan, the man in question is absent more than present. Just as well she is independent enough to manage without him. In the rain soaked field behind her new home she unearths the corpse of a woman, who's body bears the marks of a ritual killing. The hearts has been
This was the third book that I've read by this author. I have to say that I liked the heroine,Tora, in Sacrifice better than the main character, Lacey, in many of the other books. I liked the whole female obstetrician angle. I've given birth a couple of times and I remember the challenges that she mentions--the cracked nipples especially. Ouch!

I find it interesting that the author has researched her subject and sprinkles in tidbits of knowledge. The book especially goes into detail about what i
Maria Särnhammar
Detta är författarens första bok, jag har läst de andra och nu kommit till denna som heter Rov i min svenska pocket.

Tora Hamilton och hennes man bor på Shetlandsöarna. När Tora gräver i torvjorden på sin gård för att begrava sin älskade häst så stöter hon på ett perfekt bevarat lik, kroppen av en ung kvinna. Först tror man att det är ett arkeologiskt fynd men upptäcker snart att kroppen inte varit begravd länge. Tora kan inte släppa vad som hänt med kvinnan trots att polisen och flera andra säge
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