John Gload is a seventy-seven-year-old murderer. He has been killing for over half a century before he is caught for the first time.
Valentine Millimaki is the young man in the Copper County sheriff's department who draws the overnight shift after Gload's arrest. He is tasked with getting the killer to confess to a string of unsolved murders.
Gload and Millimaki sit across from each other in the dark, swapping stories and secrets. As sheriff and criminal talk through the bars night after night, Millimaki's safety is threatened within his own department. Then a brazen act of violence leads to a manhunt and a stunning revelation that ensures Gload's past and Millimaki's future are for ever entwined.
Set against the extraordinary landscape of Montana, The Ploughmen is a tense, compelling and powerfully moving novel that announces the arrival of a major American talent.
In the media
Stunning . . . A remarkable novel . . . it's absolutely beautiful, from its tragic opening scene to its tough, necessary end. Zupan is an unsparing writer, but also a generous, deeply compassionate one
A dark and imaginative debut
New York Times
Mr. Zupan produces pleasurably lush and baroque prose, especially when describing his setting's awesome and unforgiving topography
Wall Street Journal
Passionately arresting . . . Even though Zupan's novel deals with grim topics, he plows the depths of grief and numbness with such a concentrated dedication that the prose is a character in itself. His sentences are unleashed in a furious splendour . . . bleak and brilliant - the best kind of book
Minneapolis Star Tribune