Fourth Island cover
Where to buy
Fourth Island cover

The Fourth Island is available in trade paperback and ebook from

Dark, mournful, and beautiful, Sarah Tolmie’s The Fourth Island is a moving and unforgettable story of life and death on the hidden Irish island of Inis Caillte.

Huddled in the sea off the coast of Ireland is a fourth Aran Island, a secret island peopled by the lost, findable only in moments of despair. Whether drowned at sea, trampled by Cromwell’s soldiers, or exiled for clinging to the dead, no outsiders reach the island without giving in to dark emotion.

Time and again, The Fourth Island weaves a hypnotic pattern with its prose, presaging doom before walking back through the sweet and sour moments of lives not yet lost. It beautifully melds the certainty of loss with the joys of living, drawing readers under like the tide.

Available from in October 2020

From the Cover

Juliet Marillier

The Fourth Island is both beguiling and unsettling, both mythic and earthy. A truly memorable story, beautifully crafted.

Peadar Ó Guilín

The Fourth Island is an absolute gem of a story, full of wonder, melancholy and no little wisdom.

Helen Marshall

Part charm, part history, part ravishing spell in itself, The Fourth Island is the best kind of ghost story, reminding us of all the good and the bad in the world. I loved this book.


Elizabeth Hand, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2022

The Fourth Island, a sparely writ- ten novella as short and sharp as an Exacto blade, seems at first to be a conventional supernatural tale, draw- ing on the deep well of Irish folklore and tradition…. One of the joys of this slim, endlessly surprising book is how it upends one’s expectations: … It’s a story that, like the best poetry, shares its secrets even as it holds them close.

Publishers Weekly, Oct 2020

This lovely, mournful historical fantasy from Tolmie (The Little Animals) explores the uneasy relationship between people and place…. [T]he narrative voice is captivating, with the rich, conversational tone of a storyteller sitting at a fireside. The contemplative style, low stakes, and small cast is reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle and is worthy of the association.