'The most chilling witch-hunt in English history ... fascinating' Independent on Sunday
By the spring of 1645, civil war had exacted a terrible toll upon England. Disease was rife, apocalyptic omens appeared in the skies, and idolators detected in every shire. In a remote corner of Essex, two obscure gentlemen began interrogating women suspected of witchcraft, triggering the most brutal witch-hunt in English history.
Witchfinders is a spellbinding study of how Matthew Hopkins, 'the Witchfinder General', and John Stearne extended their campaign across East Anglia, driven by godly zeal. Exploiting the anxiety and lawlessness of the times, and cheered on by ordinary folk, they extracted confessions of satanic pacts resulting in scores of executions.
Gives the ordinary reader a visceral sense of mid-seventeenth-century England ... satisfyingly complex - Selina O'Grady, Literary Review
Very highly recommended - The Cauldron
an 'evocative travelogue...setpieces of rich description' - TLS
Gaskill has become an expert on the Great British witch-hunt ... a completely readable non-fiction book on a gripping subject.' - Suffolk Journal, Norfolk Journal, The Essex Magazi
The incessant peculiarity of the accusations could easily make the stories told in this book seem quaint rather than horrific. But Gaskill avoids this trap by describing each case in a vivid manner, making one aware at all times of the human tragedy. His description of a hanging, for instance could leave no reader unmoved - Craig Brown, Book of the Week, Mail on Sunday
It is a riveting subject, engagingly told, and worth a read. - Catholic Herald
The book is a timely warning for those who think that witch trials are a matter of history. - The Times
This is a terrible tale marvellously told ... This is how history should be known. - the oldie
Malcolm Gaskill was born in Suffolk but grew up in Kent. He attended Cambridge University where he read History. He completed a PhD on early modern England, then taught at Keele, Belfast and APU, before becoming Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1999.