We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Ninth Child

On sale

19th March 2020

Price: £19.99

Select a format

Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781473696655

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.


A spellbinding novel combining Scottish folklore with hidden history, by the Sunday Times bestselling author Sally Magnusson.

Loch Katrine waterworks, 1856. A Highland wilderness fast becoming an industrial wasteland. No place for a lady.

Isabel Aird is aghast when her husband is appointed doctor to an extraordinary waterworks being built miles from the city. But Isabel, denied the motherhood role that is expected of her by a succession of miscarriages, finds unexpected consolations in a place where she can feel the presence of her unborn children and begin to work out what her life in Victorian society is for.

The hills echo with the gunpowder blasts of hundreds of navvies tunnelling day and night to bring clean water to diseased Glasgow thirty miles away – digging so deep that there are those who worry they are disturbing the land of faery itself. Here, just inside the Highland line, the membrane between the modern world and the ancient unseen places is very thin.

With new life quickening within her again, Isabel can only wait. But a darker presence has also emerged from the gunpowder smoke. And he is waiting too.

Inspired by the mysterious death of the seventeenth-century minister Robert Kirke and set in a pivotal era two centuries later when engineering innovation flourished but women did not, The Ninth Child blends folklore with historical realism in a spellbinding narrative.


‘I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure’ Sarah Perry
‘An extraordinarily immersive read’ Guardian
‘Richly imagined and energetically told’ Sunday Times
‘An epic journey’ Zoe Ball Book Club

(P) 2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd


Scots Magazine
Melanie Reid, THE TIMES
Sally Magnusson's classy new novel The Ninth Child has snared me . . . Suffice to say I'm hooked, and I'm only on page 50. It's wonderful and I daren't stop. One never messes with the faeries.
The Herald
Pacy and accomplished, with a supernatural chill
Press Assocation
Entertaining, educational and thought-provoking, The Ninth Child is pacy and accomplished, with particular skill in capturing the supernatural chill attached to some of Scotland's most picturesque sights
Anne Goodwin Weekly
A compassionate story of the clashing cultures of science and superstition, of male and female, rich and poor
Michelle Gallen, author of BIG GIRL SMALL TOWN
Not only did the book transport me while I read, but when I slept my dreams were extraordinarily vivid - I dreamt I was roaming in the highlands, smelling fresh air, feeling sunlight - far from my hospital bed. Few books have this impact on me.
This eerie tale blends Scottish folklore with historical fiction
Sunday Times
An engaging mix of folklore and Victorian history
Scotland on Sunday
Well-researched, fascinating . . . a strong sense of place . . . an accomplished piece of writing, cementing Magnusson's place, not just as one of Scotland's best-loved broadcasters, but one of Scotland's leading writers of historical fiction
Caroline Sanderson
A gripping plot, vivid period detail and a terrific touch of faery too
Sarah Haywood, author of THE CACTUS
An absolute triumph! Such a clever interweaving of history and fairytale. I loved the lively intelligent heroine and the brooding sense of menace throughout. It had me gripped right to the end
Les Wilson Author of The Drowned and the Saved
A beguiling weave of fine imaginative writing and deft research into Celtic folklore and a triumph of Scottish engineering. The Ninth Child is a dramatic and magical novel told with enormous zest and wit. I am looking forward to Sally Magnusson's next fine novel.
Donald Murray, author of As the Women Lay Dreaming.
A very impressive piece of work, drawing on a strong sense of place and a rich seam of history and folklore for its power.
Alistair Moffat
Sally Magnusson has written a brilliant tour-de-force that blends together unlikely ingredients such as engineering, the Celtic Otherworld and 19th century medicine into a memorable, riveting, page-turning story. I savoured it!