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The Daylight Gate (Hammer) [Paperback]

Jeanette Winterson
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

14 Mar 2013 Hammer

Good Friday 1612. Pendle Hill.

A mysterious gathering of thirteen people is interrupted by a local magistrate. Is it a witches' Sabbat?

In Lancaster Castle two notorious witches await trial and certain death, while the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter rides to their defence.

Elsewhere a starved child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter makes his way from France to a place he believes will offer him sanctuary.

But will it? And how safe can anyone be in Witch Country?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hammer (14 Mar 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099561832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099561835
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester and read English at Oxford, during which time she wrote her first novel, the Whitbread award winning Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Tanglewreck, Jeanette's first novel for children, was published to great critical acclaim in 2006. In the same year she was awarded an OBE for services to literature.

Product Description



If you like her other novels, you will adore this. She has done her homework... the beauty of the writing, exemplary in its pared-down simplicity. It's so seductive that by the middle I was hooked.

" (Independent)

"Sharp-eyed view of history... Winterson is at her best her when she's dealing with real horrors." (Observer)

"This is a dazzling book. Winterson is a deft storyteller and a writer of wonderful economy. It is one of the very few contemporary novels that I actually wished were longer." (Literary Review)

"A book worth reading - utterly compulsive, thick with atmosphere and dread, but sharp intelligence too...Ultimately she combines compelling history and poetic dialogue with suspense...This rather more sophisticated story would make a particularly vivid film." (Telegraph)

"Winterson seamlessly blends history with fiction... The Daylight Gate is an enthralling story unfussily told, I read it all in one sitting, only wishing there were more." (Evening Standard)

Book Description

Based on the Pendle witch trials of 1612, an extraordinary story of magic, superstition, and ruthless murder by Jeanette Winterson, author of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Messy and muddled (review contains spoilers) 22 May 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
I've loved a lot of Winterson's writing, and have enjoyed other books in this Hammer series - but sadly this combination just doesn't work here. Taking her cue from the real case of the Pendle witches, Winterson pulls together a heady brew of Satanism, anti-Catholicism, rape and sexual violence, torture and death.

The problem is that there's far too much going on in such a short novella, and that the whole thing gets increasingly convoluted as stray characters walk in and out. We have incursions, for example, from the retired Shakespeare making cryptic comments about magic, John Dee and Ned Kelley casting spells and appearing both in the flesh and after death, a lesbian love-affair (this is Winterson, after all!), an ex-Gunpowder Plot conspirator, and a magic elixir of youth...

The narrative shifts between `witches' as poor women who are victims of anti-female, anti-Catholic prejudices - and real witches who have sold their souls to the devil, which tends to dilute any political message that the text might want to make. It's also extremely disappointing that the one boon our `real' witch has is the aforesaid magic elixir of youth which keeps her young and beautiful...

So I'm afraid this is a disappointing read which is actually a bit incoherent. There's no historical sense of the seventeenth century, and the gory sex `n' torture scenes feel a bit gratuitous and sensational. An interesting experiment from Ms Winterson but, sadly, not one which worked for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Winterson's witches are boring 25 Aug 2012
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase

Alice Nutter is a witch but one of the good ones who uses her powers to keep her looking young and letting the poor live on her land for free. But it turns out one of the poor wretches living on her land is one of the bad witches - who also used to be Alice's girlfriend! But she's all old and wrinkly because The Devil chose Alice instead of her. This might seem important but it's a plot point that's never really built upon so it means absolutely nothing. I mean, is youthfulness purely the only benefit of letting the Devil roger you? How about better powers like immortality?

While "The Daylight Gate" is based on real events - the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612 in Lancaster, England - Jeanette Winterson isn't above throwing in some flashback scenes showing a couple of the characters actually doing witch-like stuff, thus giving credence to the ninnies who went around pointing their puritanical fingers at half wits and screaming WITCH! So some of the accused witches were real witches which means... they were right to stand trial? After all the bad witch does try and kill her prosecutor.

Winterson also throws in some not-sexy-at-all group sex scenes and has children being raped throughout all of which amounts to her stern message to the reader - my, things are grim aren't they? Yes Jeanette they are. And?

There's a not-at-all romantic sub plot involving a fictional member of the Gunpowder Plot who somehow manages to survive the brutal torture - if you enjoy lengthy descriptions of torture, you'll love this book! - to escape to France only to return for his sister and Alice, both of whom turn him down leaving him to go to London where he stares out of a window. Effective sub-plot isn't it?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little too much fiction 19 Feb 2014
By Ceiniog
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have read (and enjoyed) "Mist over Pendle" by Robert Neill, as I have, then I don't think you will like "The Daylight Gate." Both are based loosely on the events leading up to the witchcraft trials of the early seventeenth century in Lancashire. Their timelines overlap but are not coincident - "The Daylight Gate" starts with an event that occurs two-thirds of the way through "Mist over Pendle" and ends with the execution of the witches, while "Mist over Pendle" ends with the arrest of the witches. My main problem is that, whereas Robert Neill gives rational and plausible explanations of the "witchcraft," Jeanette Winterson seems to imply that there are really supernatural forces at work. In addition, the Lesbian relationship introduced by her seems to me to be gratuitous, unnecessary, and unlikely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like the auther has written before 12 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nothing like the auther has written before. Not to my liking what so ever, gave up part way through the book as could not follow the plot as it jumped from here and there. Will think twice about buying her books again.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ms Winterson Sells Her Soul 20 April 2013
I am curious as to how this commission may have come about. An Arrow Books
publication in association with Hammer (as in Hammer Films), the jacket
indicates that the book is "Soon To Become A Major Hammer Film". God forbid!
(One imagines a man in a black cloak coming to Ms Winterson's room at midnight
offering a sheet of parchment and a sharp pin. A contract signed in blood perhaps?)

This retelling of a tale of witchcraft and persecution in early 17th century
Pendle, Lancashire (the trials referred to took place in 1612) is a clumsily
written and grotesquely sensationalist account of an unimaginably horrible crime.
I found myself increasingly troubled by the author's absorption in the
ghastly finer details of abuse and torture of the hugely vulnerable group of
woman and children at the heart of her narrative. One has a sense that the
horror has been ramped-up to the nth degree to fulfill a cinematic brief and
that she has lost touch with the true awfulness of the actual historical events
and the unimaginable suffering of the victims. It is a crude and inhumane vision.

This grubby invention seems in every way to shamefully compromise her craft.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Autumn Afternoon reading
This is Jeanette Winterson, so of course, I love it. It has everything that she is so good at - the portrayal of passionate, intense emotions, wonderful mysterious atmosphere and... Read more
Published 25 days ago by V. G. Harwood
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not her best.
Published 1 month ago by amanda wheatley
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Disappointing as a Winterson fan I expected her usual tapestry of words and characters,felt written in haste,none of her usual thought provoking themes.
Published 1 month ago by caroldenny
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Its okay ,read better
Published 1 month ago by joan jones
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book I've ever purchased
Beginning muddle and no end - read like it was written in haste!! So pleased I didn't pay full price!
Published 3 months ago by Suzanne Firth
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT A BAD READ
Published 5 months ago by denise
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, fact based fiction
A story about Witches with the Hammer name emblazoned on the front promises much but add to that mix a writer who is always pushing the boundaries and you have the potentially... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Colin Leslie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book was an impulse buy and it was one of the best books, short stories I have read in a long time.Jeanette Winterson is a great writer, I highly recommend this book.
Published 6 months ago by Andthenitsgone
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful book
Very atmospheric portrayal of the cruelty that men inflict on one another and of a dark period in history. Beautifully written with great control and imagery.
Published 7 months ago by jfh
4.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the haters, it's good !
I'm a bit baffled by all of these reviewers who seem shocked that a book about the horrors committed against supposed witches is dark and violent and disturbing - what did they... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ron Wright
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