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  • Phoenix

The Last Witchfinder: na

James Morrow

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A great historical novel following the picaresque adventures of Jennet, daughter of the last Witchfinder of Mercia and East Anglia.

Jennet is the daughter of the Witchfinder of Mercia and East Anglia. Whilst her father roams the countryside in search of heretics, Jennet is left behind to be schooled by her aunt Isobel in the New Philosophy principally expounded by Isaac Newton. But her aunt's style of scientific enquiry soon attracts the attention of the witchfinders. To save her aunt, Jennet travels to Cambridge to seek the help of Newton himself. Isobel is burned at the stake but in her dying moments, begs Jennet to devote her life to overturning the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act.
This is a huge rollercoaster of a novel as Jennet travels to America and witnesses the Salem witch trials; is abducted by Indians; begins an affair with Benjamin Franklin; travels back to England and finally meets the real Newton; is shipwrecked; then ends up back in America where her brother is now the Witchfinder Royal. In a great final showdown between old superstition and new science, Jennet decides to have herself accused of witchcraft in order to disprove its existence.

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Praise for The Last Witchfinder: na

  • This is a historical romp that makes most other novels bearing that description seem like a retroactive wriggle - DAILY MAIL 23.03.07 - Tom Cox

  • 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. - SFREVU - John Berlyne

  • 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. - DREAMWATCH (May 20

  • This picaresque, idiosyncratic and erudite work is garnished with no small measure of wit - THE HERALD

  • This picaresque adventure marries philosophy, science and outlandish humour - THE INDEPENDENT

  • 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 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. - STRANGE HORIZONS - Farah Mendlesohn

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James Morrow

James Morrow is a full-time fiction writer and a former independent filmmaker. His previous works include the critically acclaimed novels The Last Witchfinder, This is the Way the World Ends, Only Begotten Daughter, City of Truth, Towing Jehovah and Blameless in Abaddon. Visit his website at