In the middle ages a gallowglass was the personal guard of the Celtic chief: the food taster, the right hand man, the expendable one who would die for his leader. Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine for the fourth time, here presents a tale of kidnapping, obsession, and loyalty told by two men thrust into the part of modern gallowglass. The Princess, a former fashion model with a penchant for marrying older, rich men, is the target once again of the man who had been her jailer five years.
We haven't seen a Barbara Vine title since 2008. The first in these popular British stand-alones was published in 1986. They have tended to be psychological thrillers with what Rendell/Vine herself calls "deeper characters". See full list at Fantastic Fiction.
In an interesting "letter to the public" Ruth Rendell explained the fact that she writes under both names as the logical extension of having been called Ruth by her father and Barbara as her mother:
- Growing up with two names doesn't make you into two people. It does give you two aspects of personality, and Ruth and Barbara are two aspects of me. Ruth is tougher, colder, more analytical, possibly more aggressive. Ruth has written all the novels, created Chief Inspector Wexford. Ruth is the professional writer. Barbara is more feminine. It is Barbara who sews. If Barbara writes it is letters that she writes. see more
THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT
FROM DOON WITH DEATH
4.7, THE MONSTER IN THE BOX
4.5, A NEW LEASE OF DEATH