The Last Witchfinder

The Last Witchfinder

Book - 2006
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Baker & Taylor
Horrified by the execution of her beloved Aunt Isobel, unjustly convicted as a witch, young Jennet Stearne, the daughter of an eighteenth-century English witchfinder, takes it upon herself to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act, inspired by a cryptic letter from Isaac Newton, taking on the Salem Witch Court, Algonquin Indian captors, her young lover Ben Franklin, and others in the process. 30,000 first printing.


From a writer who has been lauded as "an original -- stylistically ingenious, savagely funny, always unpre-dictable" (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.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060821791
Characteristics: xvi, 526 p. ; 24 cm


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Jan 21, 2011

This book had some good ideas, but there were some things about it that just didn't work. It had a bunch of random parts where the POV would switch into first person from a books point of view, and then it would go into some semi-irrelevant tangents that weren't really necessary. The characters didn't act like real people. Part of the problem was that it was a male author trying to write from the POV of a female character and failing. Overall the book was interesting, but it didn't really work for me.

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