The Last Witchfinder: na Hardcover – 6 Apr 2006
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
an absolute delight...Seldom does one come across a story that works on so many levels. Not only does it satisfy by being a highly entertaining yarn detailing the picaresque, pillar-to-post adventures of its admirable and highly likeable protagonist, Jennet Stearne, it stands too as a sharply observed post-modernist satire that focuses upon the age-old tensions that both bind and divide us - religion and science... a hugely affable work, and a great pleasure to read. (John Berlyne SFREVU)
the sheer exuberance of the plot and the determination of the protagonist to reach her goal carries the reader along. A thoroughly entertaining novel. (WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY)
..the genius of this book...is that is perfectly captures the prismatic situations of science and theology in the 18th century...Part of the delight of this novel is the richness of the language, the carefully balanced coyness and coquetry of 18th century literarture, and the way in which the Principia Mathematica writes all the world in Newtonian geometry. (Farah Mendlesohn STRANGE HORIZONS)
The Last Witchfinder is cleverly written, with the detail of history providing a rich tapestry into which the fiction is woven, bringing events and chartacters both real and imagined to vivid life...Morrow has written a timely intervention into the dangersof Fundamentalism for the zeitgeist. (Brigid Cherry DREAMWATCH (May 2006))
An intense and dramatic novel set in one of the darkest periods of our country's history. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)
James Morrow writes in order to tell us things: to admonish us about our coming destruction of the world, or about the battle between reason and superstition...what he is, deep down, is a satirist and moralist...What makes this satirical version of the struggle against fundamentalism so powerful is Morrow's scenes of natural beauty or urban squalor. These have the scent of real wild flowers, the squish of real mud and dung underfoot. (Roz Kaveney INDEPENDENT (11.5.06))
Romp is too small a word for this novel, although the fin and excitement James Morrow delivers inevitably brings it to mind. (Alastair Mabbott THE HERALD (13.5.06))
a dazzling novel about the clash between superstition and science...This is an extravagant, expansive, erudite, energetic feast of information and adventure...I felt bound to read on as if tied to a stake myself. (Jessica Mann SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (14.5.06))
[a] tremendous historical novel...In a book that will appeal to fans of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, James Morrow captures the imagination and excitement of a world long gone. (NEWMARKET JOURNAL and SUFFOLK FREE PRESS)
Inventive, original and downright entertaining with some fantastic fantasy twists, The Last Witchfinder is a book that really does take genre writing in a completely new and highly entertaining direction. (James Whittington THE DARK SIDE)
The Last Witchfinder is a magnificent combination of high entertainment and intellectually demanding story telling. The life and travails of Jennet prove to be compelling; the tale fair gallops along and is packed with incident as well as engaging and intriguing characters. It is a tremendously satisfying read which offers much to be considered long after the book is finished. (Dave M Roberts VECTOR MAGAZINE)
A great historical novel following the picaresque adventures of Jennet, daughter of the last Witchfinder of Mercia and East Anglia. Will appeal to fans of Philip Pullman, Restoration, and Jonathan Strange and Mr NorrellSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
Jennet's mission is to see the overturning of the Witchcraft Statute by Parliament and it is this ultimate aim that unites the various episodes that make up the story. Some of these episodes are fantastically realised, especially the final trial scene which is genuinely tense. However, it has to be said that Jennet's time among the Indians is a trifle dull and her shipwreck on the Caribbean Island isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds. This is the problem with the book. Morrow has written a very ambitious novel and, although some things work brilliantly others just don't. The idea of casting the narrator of the novel as a book, Newton's Principia Mathematica, is original but ultimately doesn't work. Although it succeeds in creating a viewpoint located outside the time frame of the story, it becomes a distraction. Morrow has obviously done a lot of research into the intellectual and scientific theories of the period and, while at times these are stimulating and colourful, at other times they detract from the storytelling.
To sum up this is an entertaining and enjoyable read and it is worth sticking with. An ambitious, exciting, frustrating and flawed novel.
The story follows the rest of Jennet's unexpectedly 'colourful' life, through Salem witch trials, kidnap by Indians, and romance with Benjamin Franklin. She is horrified by her father's actions, but despite dedicating her life to creating what she believes to be an irrefutable argument against demons and witchcraft, she decides that the only way she can prove her case once and for all is to stand trial accused of witchcraft herself. It's then a question of whether she will suffer the same fate as her aunt Isabel, or if logic, reason and science can save the day...
Very funny in places, and interesting, too; but the second half dragged a bit and I did get a little fed up of the constant adventuring. I think this would have been a much better story with some brutal editing throughout, but it's a good entertainment, nonetheless.
Having said all of the above, I did enjoy reading the story and wanted to find out what happened in the end. It also made me interested to look up the facts behind the witch trials and provoked some thought about the mentality of people during that period of history. I would recommend reading this, however be prepared to skim through the dense explanations of maths experiments and the outside narrative, as these add little to the story.
Jennet Stearne is an intelligent precocious young woman her, aunt Isobel is a radical thinking woman and excellent teacher who takes on Jennet's education whilst her father and brother travel round the country hunting down witches and bringing them to justice, with some of the extraordinary methods used in the times. Things go well until the witchfinders find Isobels scientific experiments and style of teaching too much like "Witchcraft" to understand! Isobel is tried and executed as a witch and Jennet determines to overturn the Parliamentry witchcraft act and bring about the end to the barbaric crimes carried out by the Witchfinders in the name of the lord! Jennets father and brother are exhiled to the Americas for overstepping his authority, and Jennet has to go too as she is only 12, and her adventures begin. I really do not want to tell you the whole plot but it is a rollercoaster of a ride.
Anyone interested in Witchcraft trials and 17th century life would find this a really good read.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews