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Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction [Hardcover]

Tracy Borman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Aug 2013

September 1613.

In Belvoir Castle, the heir of one of England's great noble families falls suddenly and dangerously ill. His body is 'tormented' with violent convulsions. Within a few short weeks he will suffer an excruciating death. Soon the whole family will be stricken with the same terrifying symptoms. The second son, the last male of the line, will not survive.

It is said witches are to blame. And so the Earl of Rutland's sons will not be the last to die.

Witches traces the dramatic events which unfolded at one of England's oldest and most spectacular castles four hundred years ago. The case is among those which constitute the European witch craze of the 15th-18th centuries, when suspected witches were burned, hanged, or tortured by the thousand. Like those other cases, it is a tale of superstition, the darkest limits of the human imagination and, ultimately, injustice - a reminder of how paranoia and hysteria can create an environment in which nonconformism spells death. But as Tracy Borman reveals here, it is not quite typical. The most powerful and Machiavellian figure of the Jacobean court had a vested interest in events at Belvoir.He would mastermind a conspiracy that has remained hidden for centuries.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (29 Aug 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0224090569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224090568
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Borman provides a fascinating account of the circumstances surrounding the case." (Amanda Foreman Mail on Sunday)

"Moving and spirited." (Anne Somerset Literary Review)

"A tantalising history... A panoramic survey of the witch craze that swept through Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries." (John Carey Sunday Times)

"On March 11, 1619, in the city of Lincoln two sisters, Margaret and Phillipa Flower, were hanged for witchcraft. Tracy ­Borman's new book investigates their tragedy and traces the dramatic events which unfolded at one of England's oldest and most spectacular castles four hundred years ago." (The Beat That My Heart Skipped)

"Excellent." (Thomas Quinn Big Issue)

Book Description

A tale of bloody witchcraft, which led all the way to James I's right-hand man

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After reading her superb books on Henrietta Howard (mistress of George II), Elizabeth's Women (the women whose influence shaped Elizabeth I) and Matilda (the wife of William the Conqueror), I was fascinated by what would happen when Tracy Borman's brilliant and engaging writing style combined with the much darker theme of Witchcraft. The result doesn't disappoint in any way as Borman uses the story of the 'Belvoir Witches' - Joan, Margaret and Philippa Flower - as a window through which to examine the disturbing phenomenon of 'Witchcraft' during the seventeen century. As usual, Borman narrates the story brilliantly building suspense through the way in which the book moves back and forth between dealing with the detail of the Belvoir case and the issue of Witchcraft more generally. The evidence is meticulously presented and carefully examined with all Borman's skill for making the key characters involved really come alive in the mind of the reader. Once you start reading this book you will find it very difficult to put it down - truly 'history as it should be written' as Alison Weir said of 'Elizabeth's Women'. The versatility of Tracy Borman is quite extraordinary and it will be great to see what she turns her formidable mind to next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good interesting factual read 9 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I know the settings and history I'm from North East Leicestershire and know it's history and characters well done Tracy for a very good interesting read and the Audio Book is good to
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing study of belief in Witchcraft 15 Oct 2013
By Moon
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Tracy Borman quickly engages the reader with her consideration of true-life witchcraft cases from the past. Not only does she examine the famous ones, but she also delves into lesser-known examples.
The detailed descriptions of torture and ruthless interrogation are not for the faint-hearted!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark but really interesting 3 Sep 2013
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
I love to read about events that I don't really know much about and whilst I was aware of the Witch Hunts in England (specifically the ones in Lancashire) I wasn't as up on the events that occurred within this title brought to the reader in a factual yet interesting way by author Tracy Borman.

Whilst explaining in great detail, the reader is never left to feel that they're getting too much information at once, the author brings it over in an easy to comprehend manner and when added to an obvious passion by the author to bring history to life all round makes this a great book to enjoy.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sensationalist 2 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book expecting an unbiased and objective account of the Belvoir witches.Sadly, I was hugely disappointed. Although apparently well researched and written in a clear, accessible style, the author's limited knowledge of witchcraft becomes apparent, resulting in several errors. For example, Henry Holland's 'Treatise against witchcraft' was not the first work published in England, nor was it a pamphlet. Similarly, England did not have the highest proportion of female suspects. However, the worst aspect of the book is that despite the author's bold claim that the 'Machiavellian' George Villiers, then marquis of Buckingham, 'would mastermind a conspiracy that has remained hidden for centuries', no real evidence is provided to back up the claim that he arranged to have the earl of rutland's sickly youngest son done away with. Buckingham was accused of many crimes, and he and his family were derided and lampooned in numerous scurrilous ballads and poems, yet he was never accused of such a crime, nor were there even any rumours, despite being accused of poisoning King James I in 1625, along with his mother, the Countess of Buckingham and Prince Charles, later Charles I; a charge to which few reputable historians give any credence. The supposed evidence is purely circumstantial, and made to fit, presumably, to give more spice to the tale.
I cannot recommend this book, which I found sensationalist and prejudiced. If readers are interested in a work on witchcraft which is accurate and written without bias,then Malcom Gaskill's,'Witchfinder: A seventeenth century English Tragedy' is superb.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 July 2014
By Roy1952
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Read this one after reading "witchfinders" another good account of our not so glorious past
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 1 July 2014
By Squidgo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brilliant piece of research and writing that is an historical page turner for the academic and the layman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and enthralling! 23 Mar 2014
I first found Tracey Borman when I read her book on Elizabeth 1st and the women within her life, which I found absolutely fascinating and riveting, I simply couldn't put the book down!

Witches revolves around the case of the Belvoir Witch-trial in which 2 Witches were executed on the grounds of using their sorcery and dark magic to kill two children of the Earl of Rutlands, a well known figure in the Jacobean court.

I personally found this book just as enjoyable as Borman's Elizabeth. Highly informative with just the right amount of facts you want to coincide with an extremely interesting story that has been lost in history for too long. Definitely recommend!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
interesting if slightly overdone and repetitive
Published 7 days ago by Andrew R Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
a good book to read with lots of history within in it. interested me in other historical moments and people within it which I will be looking into further.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs K A Irving
1.0 out of 5 stars A muddled gossipy account of muddled gossipy accounts.
I'm not sure I've ever written a book review before, but I found this book so irritating that I thought I'd jot down my impressions. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. J. D. W. Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book
I enjoy this type of book, very easy to read, not boring as some factual books can be. Definately would recommend it.
Published 8 months ago by susan Rochford
4.0 out of 5 stars Witches.
This book goes along way towards my understanding of the times and the peoples feeling and will help with my next essay.
Published 9 months ago by F1 Lady.
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Horror
Tracy's book is as much about poverty as witchcraft, for the suffering of women often brought them to severe mental illness, when they needed charity not malice. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Brian Dutton
I only started this book a couple of days ago and have already become totally absorbed in the astonishing tale of witchcraft and its implications for women both in the UK and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Penelope Lomax
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