Friday, 2 May 2014

Witch Finder

Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton
Published by Hodder Children's
2nd January 2014
Paperback Edition




London, 1880, and eighteen-year-old Luke Lexton is about to endure his initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum - the secretive brotherhood devoted to hunting witches, and the organisation that will help Luke take revenge on the witch who murdered his parents. His final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself.

Luke picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, a witch-girl living in rapidly fading grandeur on the west side of town. She's the last bargaining chip in her family's struggle to avoid bankruptcy and is about to be married off to the handsome, cruel, grotesquely rich Sebastian Knyvet - a powerful member of the Ealdwitan.

As Rosa and Luke get to know each other, Luke realises it will be impossible for him to kill Rosa, just as Rosa knows she will bring disgrace on her family if she does not marry Knyvet. But Knyvet is hiding dark secrets - including the key which will unlock the mystery of Luke's murdered parents. Torn between appeasing their elders and their love for each other, Rosa and Luke must each make their choice between life and death.



Luke lifted his head and sniffed the dusk.  The rich smell of roast chestnuts pierced the cold foggy air, above the more familiar Spitalfields stink: horse manure, coal smoke, rubbish.  Another day he might have searched his pockets for a farthing, bought a paper cone of hot, burst chestnuts and burnt his fingers as he ate.  Not today.  Not with his stomach churning like a wash tub and a fluttering sickness in his gut.

Instead he pushed past the scurrying children and sharp-faced errand boys, and stepped into the foetid, muck-strewn road.

At the Cock Tavern the gas-lamps were it and the working girls called out to him, trying to catch his eye for the evening trade.  Their cheap perfume wafted across the muddy street, cutting through the sharpness of the burning chestnut skins.  He turned up his collar, readying himself to run the gaunlet.

'Come on now, Luke Lexton!' Miriam called as he drew near.  'A man like you can't be a monk all yer life.  I've seen you with those horses, how's about I teach you to ride something a bit more lively?'

'Don't listen to her!' Phoebe twirled her skirts as he passed, flashing her crimson petticoat and stockings.  'I'll give you the first ride for free, Luke.  For a birthday present, eh?'

'My birthday's been and gone yesterday,' he muttered into his muffler.  'And I'm late for me uncle.'
     'Come back with your uncle and all!' Miriam cried.  'William Lexton's a fine figure of a man too!'
     They were still giggling and making eyes over their fans as he rounded the corner.


Set in the late 19th Century, Witch Finder is about a group of men who are part of the Malleus Maleficorum - dedicated witch hunters who have been formed to rid the city of London of those charged with witchcraft.  On the day after his eighteenth birthday, Luke Lexton passes the initiation into this organisation, and learns his prey is sixteen year old Rosa Greenwood.

Luke enters into the Greenwood household in disguise, in order to be nearer to Rosa with the intent of killing her; but as time goes on and he grows to know Rosa for more than her witchcraft, he realises that his quest is not going to be as easy as he once imagined it to be.

Witch Finder is fairly predictable in that hunter and hunted eventually fall in love and have to make tough decisions in order to be able to stay together.  This is the first book in a new series by Ruth Warburton, following on from her Winter Trilogy, and from reading Witch Finder, I think this series will be popular too. 

I really enjoyed the story itself, and there is a lot of detail included her about life in the 1800s in London, particularly of the hazards of working in a match factory.  This is written for the YA market and deserves to do well.  I'm looking forward to reading what happens next to Luke and Rosa.


Happy Reading


Miss Chapter x

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like another good one, thank you for sharing.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on anything I review!