#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory weaves an unforgettable tale of a young woman’s sorcery and desire in Henry VIII’s England, where magic, lust, and power are forever intertwined.
Growing up as an abandoned outcast on the moors, young Alys’ only company is her cruel foster mother, Morach, the local wise woman who is whispered to practice the dark arts. Alys joins a nunnery to escape the poverty and loneliness she has felt all her life, but all too soon her sanctuary is destroyed. King Henry VIII’s followers burn the holy place to the ground, and Alys only just manages to escape with her life, haunted by the screams of her sisters as they burned to death.
She finds work in a castle not far from where she grew up as an old lord’s scribe, where she falls obsessively in love with his son Hugo. But Hugo is already married to a proud woman named Catherine. Driven to desperation by her desire, she summons the most dangerous powers Morach taught her, but quickly the passionate triangle of Alys, Hugo, and Catherine begins to explode, launching them into uncharted sexual waters. The magic Alys has conjured now has a life of its own—a life that is horrifyingly and disastrously out of control.
Is she a witch? Since heresy means the stake, and witchcraft the rope, Alys is in mortal danger, treading a perilous path between her faith and her own power.
The author of the Wideacre trilogy offers another intense, absorbing tale, a grisly drama of passion and witchcraft in 16th-century England. Growing up as an ill-used apprentice to Morach, the much-feared wise woman of the moors, Alys finds respite by joining an order of Catholic nuns. When young Lord Hugo and his men burn the abbey to the ground during a drunken rampage, Alys is the only one to escape; she flees back to Morach, consumed with guilt at having abandoned her dying sisters. Summoned to minister to Lord Hugh, Hugo's father, Alys soon finds herself deeply involved in the treachery and intrigue surrounding the old man's attempts to have his son's marriage to the barren Lady Catherine annulled. Attracted to Hugo despite his murderous past, Alys begins to practice witchcraft in earnest to rid him of Catherine and become his wife. Her spells work all too well: Catherine's long-awaited pregnancy ends disastrously, and Hugo comes to love Alys, but in a sickly haze of lust that provides no basis for marriage. Alys soon finds herself so sunk in evil, so removed from God's love, that only a truly shocking gesture can bring about her salvation. Gregory adeptly manipulates hair-raising horror and mounting suspense, brilliantly evoking the period's turbulent atmosphere. Dou ble day Book Club alternate.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Such a terrible fable ending. Left me wanting more. If I had known the ending I wouldn't have read the book.
What a waste of time
Not at all like her other works I read. Really, I just was not prepared for the pointless nonsense and the gory details of things that in the end were pointless. All of the characters except the abbess where vile. I only read on in hopes that somewhere the book would have SOME point but in the end.... It was just awful! Coming from some one who does enjoy this writer... Save your money and your time.... Read another book!
Starts interesting but then...?
Philipa Gregory can be an amazing writer but this book along with Wideacre make me seriously question her mind and morality. This book starts out interesting and you keep hoping the character Aly's gets less misguided and selfish but everyone in this novel is so twisted that 3/4 of the way through I didn't even want to finish it.Weird ending too.