Jennet Stearne's father hangs witches for a living in Restoration England. But when this precocious child witnesses the horrifying death of her beloved Aunt Isobel, unjustly executed as a sorceress, she makes it her life's mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act.
From a writer who has been lauded as "an original -- stylistically ingenious, savagely funny, always unpredictable" (Philadelphia Inquirer) and "unerring" (San Diego Union-Tribune), who has been compared to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and John Updike, a writer whose pen has given us a devastating lampoon of the nuclear-arms race and an audacious answer to the outrageous question "What if God had a daughter?" -- from this writer, the critically acclaimed James Morrow, comes a novel of history, adventure, science, sex, satire, absurdity, and philosophy.
Jennet Stearne's father hangs witches for a living in Restoration England. But when this precocious child witnesses the horrifying death of her beloved Aunt Isobel, unjustly executed as a sorceress, she makes it her life's mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act. A self-educated "natural philosopher," Jennet is inspired in her quest by a single sentence in a cryptic letter from Isaac Newton: It so happens that in the Investigations leading first to my Conjectures concerning Light and later to my System of the World, I fell upon a pretty Proof that Wicked Spirits enjoy no essential Existence. Armed with nothing but the power of reason and her memory of Isobel's love, Jennet cannot rest until she has put the last witchfinder out of business.
Abrim with picaresque adventures -- escapades that carry Jennet from King William's Britain to the fledgling American Colonies to an uncharted Caribbean island -- our heroine's search for justice entangles her variously in the machinations of the Salem Witch Court, the customs of her Algonquin Indian captors, the designs of a West Indies pirate band, and the bedsheets of her brilliant lover, the young Ben Franklin. Finally, in a reckless and courageous ploy, Jennet arranges to go on trial herself for sorcery, the only way she can defeat the witchfinders now and forever. Rich in detail, rollicking in style, and endlessly engaging, The Last Witchfinder is a tour de force of historical fiction.
Father Hunts Witches,
Whose Aunt Seeks Wisdom,
and Whose Soul Desires
It Cannot Name
May I speak candidly, fleshling,
one rational creature to another, myself a book and you a reader? Even if the
literature of confession leaves you cold, even if you are among those who wish
that Rousseau had never bared his soul and Augustine never mislaid his shame,
you would do well to lend me a fraction of your life. I am Mathematical
Principles of Natural Philosophy, after allin my native tongue, Philosophiæ
Naturalis Principia Mathematica, the Principia for shortnot some
tenth-grade algebra text or guide to improving your golf swing. Attend my
adventures and you may, Dame Fortune willing, begin to look upon the world anew.
Unlike you humans, a book always remembers its moment of conception. My father, the illustrious Isaac Newton, having abandoned his studies at Trinity College to escape the great plague of 1665, was spending the summer at his ...
James Morrow describes himself as a 'scientific humanist'. His earlier works tend to question religious viewpoints, from organized religions all the way through to atheism. For example, in the first volume of his Godhead Trilogy, written in the 1990s, the 2-mile long corpse of God is discovered floating in the ocean and the Vatican dispatches a supertanker to tow the corpse to a tomb in the Arctic, meanwhile a group of atheist extremists plan on destroying the body, as it proves they were wrong. In the second volume, God's body is now part of a religious theme ...
If you liked The Last Witchfinder, try these:
A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history - the Salem witch trials.
It is 1507. A friar arrives in Tierkinddorf, a remote German village nestled deeply in the woods. The village has been suffering a famine, but the friar promises he will identify the guilty woman - the witch - who has brought Gods anger upon the town; she will be burned, and bounty will be restored. But how quickly can she be found?
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