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The Last Witchfinder: A Novel (P.S.)

by

The Last Witchfinder: A Novel (P.S.) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jennet Stearne's father hangs witches for a living in Restoration England. But when she witnesses the unjust and horrifying execution of her beloved aunt Isobel, the precocious child decides to make it her life's mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act.

Armed with little save the power of reason, and determined to see justice prevail, Jennet hurls herself into a series of picaresque adventures — traveling from King William's Britain to the fledgling American Colonies to an uncharted island in the Caribbean, braving West Indies pirates, Algonquin Indian captors, the machinations of the Salem Witch Court, and the sensuous love of a young Ben Franklin. For Jennet cannot and must not rest until she has put the last witchfinder out of business.

Review:

"Nine years in the making, Morrow's richly detailed, cerebral tale of rationality versus superstitious bigotry is set in late-17th-century London and colonial New England, a time when everyday actions were judged according to the rigid Parliamentary Witchcraft Act and suspect women were persecuted for alleged acts of sorcery. Inquisitive, 'kinetic' Jennet Stearne, daughter of militant Witchfinder Gen. Walter Stearne, witnesses this pursuit of 'Satanists' up close when her beloved maternal Aunt Isobel Mowbray, a philosopher and scientist, is put on trial and burned at the stake for her progressive ideas. Thirteen-year-old Jennet and her younger brother, Dunstan, immigrate with their now-infamous father to Massachusetts, where Walter (disgraced in England for executing his propertied sister-in-law) puts his 'witchfinding' expertise into savage overdrive at the Salem witch trials. Abducted in a raid, Jennet spends seven years captive to the Algonquin Nimacook, until she's freed by and married to Boston postmaster Tobias Crompton. Years later, after a divorce (!), she becomes smitten (and enlightened) by a young Benjamin Franklin. For a metafictional touch to this intrepid, impeccably researched epic (after Blameless in Abaddon), Newton's Principia Mathematica speaks intermittently, its jaunty historical and critical commentary knitted cleverly into the narrative. This tour-de-force of early America bears a buoyant humor to lighten its macabre load." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"James Morrow's novel about early American witchcraft pulls off so many dazzling feats of literary magic that in a different century he'd have been burned at the stake. Forget 'The Crucible,' Arthur Miller's dreary classic. Forget the repugnant kitsch of modern-day Salem. 'The Last Witchfinder' flies us back to that thrilling period when scientific rationalism was dropped into the great cauldron of... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[Mr. Morrow's] prodigious dedication pays off. Here are storytelling, showmanship and provocative book-club bait (try finding another recent novel that rivals this one for erudite talking points), all rolled into one inventive feat." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"[A] treat for history lovers....Morrow injects humor and detail, but to enjoy this novel, you need a real appetite for the history of science. It's a book to delight fans of writers such as John Barth and T. C. Boyle. Or even Jonathan Swift." USA Today

Review:

"This impeccably researched, highly ambitious novel...is a triumph of historical fiction." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Morrow's latest is commendably ambitious, but this intensely cerebral extravaganza doesn't really work; Jennet is more a talking head than a fully formed character, and Morrow's prose, cobwebbed with archaisms, is no help." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A]n attractive heroine in an exceptionally engaging and piquantly thoughtful novel. Though similar to John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor in many respects, Witchfinder is warmer and more human. Strongly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"For those who like the good, old-fashioned storytelling techniques of the 19th century (heavy on plot, festooned with lots of odd, memorable characters), The Last Witchfinder...may be just the ticket....Morrow is long overdue for a mainstream audience." Denver Post

Review:

"Grim and gorgeous, earthy and erudite as well." Seattle Times

Review:

"Morrow seamlessly weaves fantasy with science and historical fact in one of the best novels of the year." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"A grand yarn about the clash of reason and superstition, set in a fascinating time." Neal Stephenson, author of The Baroque Cycle

Synopsis:

Jennet Stearnes's father hangs witches. But when this precocious child witnesses the death of her beloved Aunt Isobel, unjustly executed as sorceress, she makes it her life's mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act.

About the Author

James Morrow is the author of nine previous novels, including The Last Witchfinder. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060821807
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Morrow, James
Author:
by James Morrow
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
March 2007
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
8.00x5.36x.98 in. .94 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Sale Books

The Last Witchfinder: A Novel (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 560 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060821807 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Nine years in the making, Morrow's richly detailed, cerebral tale of rationality versus superstitious bigotry is set in late-17th-century London and colonial New England, a time when everyday actions were judged according to the rigid Parliamentary Witchcraft Act and suspect women were persecuted for alleged acts of sorcery. Inquisitive, 'kinetic' Jennet Stearne, daughter of militant Witchfinder Gen. Walter Stearne, witnesses this pursuit of 'Satanists' up close when her beloved maternal Aunt Isobel Mowbray, a philosopher and scientist, is put on trial and burned at the stake for her progressive ideas. Thirteen-year-old Jennet and her younger brother, Dunstan, immigrate with their now-infamous father to Massachusetts, where Walter (disgraced in England for executing his propertied sister-in-law) puts his 'witchfinding' expertise into savage overdrive at the Salem witch trials. Abducted in a raid, Jennet spends seven years captive to the Algonquin Nimacook, until she's freed by and married to Boston postmaster Tobias Crompton. Years later, after a divorce (!), she becomes smitten (and enlightened) by a young Benjamin Franklin. For a metafictional touch to this intrepid, impeccably researched epic (after Blameless in Abaddon), Newton's Principia Mathematica speaks intermittently, its jaunty historical and critical commentary knitted cleverly into the narrative. This tour-de-force of early America bears a buoyant humor to lighten its macabre load." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[Mr. Morrow's] prodigious dedication pays off. Here are storytelling, showmanship and provocative book-club bait (try finding another recent novel that rivals this one for erudite talking points), all rolled into one inventive feat."
"Review" by , "[A] treat for history lovers....Morrow injects humor and detail, but to enjoy this novel, you need a real appetite for the history of science. It's a book to delight fans of writers such as John Barth and T. C. Boyle. Or even Jonathan Swift."
"Review" by , "This impeccably researched, highly ambitious novel...is a triumph of historical fiction."
"Review" by , "Morrow's latest is commendably ambitious, but this intensely cerebral extravaganza doesn't really work; Jennet is more a talking head than a fully formed character, and Morrow's prose, cobwebbed with archaisms, is no help."
"Review" by , "[A]n attractive heroine in an exceptionally engaging and piquantly thoughtful novel. Though similar to John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor in many respects, Witchfinder is warmer and more human. Strongly recommended."
"Review" by , "For those who like the good, old-fashioned storytelling techniques of the 19th century (heavy on plot, festooned with lots of odd, memorable characters), The Last Witchfinder...may be just the ticket....Morrow is long overdue for a mainstream audience."
"Review" by , "Grim and gorgeous, earthy and erudite as well."
"Review" by , "Morrow seamlessly weaves fantasy with science and historical fact in one of the best novels of the year."
"Review" by , "A grand yarn about the clash of reason and superstition, set in a fascinating time."
"Synopsis" by , Jennet Stearnes's father hangs witches. But when this precocious child witnesses the death of her beloved Aunt Isobel, unjustly executed as sorceress, she makes it her life's mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act.
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