Regular price: $43.37

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

For the first time in 300 years, Scotland has its own Parliament, and to go with it, its own newly developed Parliament buildings. Detective Inspector John Rebus views the whole thing through a rather jaundiced eye, given that he's been chosen to liaise with the restructuring of the whole building.

At first he thinks that the building's murky past may just be a break from the tedium - not every building has stories of a mad earl roasting a servant to death, after all - but when he is shown the legendary site, it's to discover a rather more recent body occupying the same place. As if that's not enough, a prospective Member of Parliament is found dead a few days later on the same site. As always, it's up to Rebus to find out what's going on.

©2000 Ian Rankin (P)2002 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"The plot is worthy of the series: raging and racing and teetering on the edge of falling apart, before Rankin slams the reader with a final masterful twist." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Maura
  • New Haven, CT, United States
  • 01-22-09

solid Rebus novel

This novel is a bit slow starting, compared to say Fleshmarket Alley, but is a good, solid representation of Rebus. The characters are well defined and nicely flawed and the reader does a decent job at separating the various voices. This book meanders a bit during the story going off on seemingly random tangents, but I enjoy how the characters deal with the underbelly of Edinburgh enough to see it through. If you are needing a solid Rebus fix after hitting the more drama/story driven books, this will do it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Exceptional series

I really love this series. I've probably written that in previous reviews.

Rebus is amazing. Not the most politically correct or as straight-laced as many of the police and he certainly doesn't always make the best decisions. (Lorna?? Really??) But he has great cop sense and is able to figure things out. This story of three deaths proves all those things.

Am I the only one who likes Cafferty a little bit?

The narration, for some reason, was not up to par but still good. As I'm bingeing on the Rebus audiobooks I'm beginning to think with a Scottish burr. 😃

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I actually didn't get to listen to this book.

What made the experience of listening to Set in Darkness the most enjoyable?

I wanted to listen to this book but the narration was so awful that I gave up. Really poor.
I love these books and think they should re-record it with someone else!

How could the performance have been better?

Somebody else...espeicailly with a slight Scottish accent.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Terrible performance

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Different narration

What didn???t you like about Samuel Gillies???s performance?

Cadence of the manner in which he read syntax and individual words destroyed the intended meaning of sentences, and completely distracted one from being able to concentrate on the story. Agonizing to listen to. I like Ian Rankin's novels, but this performance forced me to abandon listening to it 1/4 way through Part 1.

  • Overall

Not my favorite

I am a mystery book junkie and have listened to 100+ books from Audible over the past several years. Seldom have I NOT finished a book, but this one just didn't hold my interest. I kept rewinding it(thinking my train of thought was interrupted) but it still didn't help. Sorry, but this is a boring book with lots of characters and difficult to follow.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Slow and slower

This book was very slow. I never really got into it either. It ran on and on while I just kept wondering the plot. There were too many dead people and not enough suspense. The only twist was just lame and predictable.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • nathan
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • 12-01-11

One for the true Rebus fans

I don't think Gilies is the best of the Rebus narrators. Though I am not from Scotland, his accent sounds a bit too formal for my likings compared to the others who really do a good job capturing class differences with their various accents. Also, a few of his voices sound too similar to his Rebus, but his Cafferty is amazing. Beyond him, the book is quite good, and of the 9 rebus books Ive listened to, this is one of my favorites. It takes a while to get settled into, as this is one of Rankins more complex plots, but its worth it if you can stick with it and the ending is very satisfying. Not sure if Id pay $30 for it but it was definitely worth the credit.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • NJ, United States
  • 10-07-08

Quite long...

I enjoyed the "John Rebus" character in a previous audio book, and others by the author, but i found this to be long, drawn out and not really worth the journey. Sorry, but i can't recommend this one.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful