(Book 2 of The Widdershins Trilogy)
England, 1650. A vengeful witch hunter. An innocent healer and her child accused of witchcraft. Can they escape the hangman’s noose?
Filled with vengeance, John Sharpe will stop at nothing in his sworn mission to free the world from the scourge of witchcraft. When his quest to vanquish evil is thwarted by Jane Driver, he decrees that she must die.
After defeating the witchfinder, Jane must continue her dangerous healing work. Alone in a hostile world, she struggles to keep her little girl alive.
Determined to keep his vow, the witchfinder must put mother and daughter to death. When John brings the witch hunt to Jane’s home, can she save herself and her child from certain slaughter?
In an English village gripped by superstition and fear, two destinies collide in the second of three historical novels about real witch trials in the north east of England.
Recommended for anyone interested in historical novels about real witches, witchfinders and witch trials.
Review by the Historical Novel Society
When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy, he finds Jane unhappily married to his rival. Helped by an old priest, they plan to flee to America, but a Jane’s life as a mother and village healer must continue as normal. Then news comes that John Sharpe (the self-appointed witch-finder who hanged Jane’s mother) is searching for Jane, determined to destroy her, her daughter and her unborn child.
The novel is rich in fascinating details: Jane’s remedies and the village customs, partly Christian, partly pagan. Ancient names for plants and festivities, both seasonal and Christian, add colour to the narrative. Jane’s story is based on true events, and Jane represents the many women whose healing gifts made them victims of superstition and violence. In John, Steadman makes a convincing if not original case that his overzealous persecution of supposed witches stems from his fear and shame at his own lust and contempt for women.