Already winner of the prestigious Bram Stoker Award, this debut novel by a major new writing talent is a powerful tale of belief, fear, and hope. Set in the isolated mountains of western Virginia, Sineater twists the legendary tradition of the One Condemned to Absorb the Sins of the Brethen into a harrowing battle between the intolerance of the mountain community's religious fabric and the newly awakened conscience of a boy. According to legend, the sineater is a dark and mysterious figure of the night, condemned to live alone in the woods, who devours food from the chests of the dead to allow them to ascend to heaven. In the small Virginia town, children have to lock themselves away when there is a death in their family and the sineater calls to their home. To look upon the sineater is to see the face of all the evil he has eaten, and to become insane with the overwhelming presence of sin. But now the order has been broken, the tradition violated; the sineater has a family of his own, although even his wife and children must avert their gaze on the rare occasions he visits them. And with this broken taboo comes a rash of disturbing events. When Joel, the sineater's youngest child, begins to try to lead a normal life, strange occurrences start to affect the peaceful existence of the community, and harm comes in different forms to anyone who has dealings with him. Before long no one is safe from the dark forces that have been set loose, and Joel must discover if the havoc that is being wreaked on the town emanates from the sineater, the community itself, or some other mysterious force.