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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  3 reviews
A startlingly imaginative, terrifying novel of the occult - set against the backdrop of England's civil war and accompanying religious turmoil - Malefice tells the story of a seventeenth-century witch who comes to dominate an English village and is brought down by the very people who have been dependent on her powers. The night before old Alice Slade was hanged for witchcr ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published 1994 by Picador (first published May 4th 1993)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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Pam Baddeley
This novel tackles an interesting subject. Set during the turbulent English Civil War, a vicar spends the night in the gaol cell of an old woman who is to be hanged for witchcraft in the morning. He questions her on the various crimes of which she is accused, wanting answers which will satisfy his own tormenting religious doubts, and his doubts about his dead wife and whether or not she was unfaithful to him. To obtain answers, he inflicts torture on the woman, such as having her walked up and d ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
There's a lot to be said for a book that lets the reader know – from the outset – that its major character ends up dead, hung as a witch.

That's how Malefice begins: with Alice Slade dead at 50, her body washed by one of her neglected daughters. But the journey of how we get to this post-rope cleansing is a little more involved.

Set in 1655, in the heat of the English Civil War, the novel combines a number of viewpoints to try and explain how central the accused witch is to the people in her vil
Carolyn Hutchins
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sometimes a little hard to follow, particularly if I'd left the book for a day or two, but in all a poignant and touching exploration of life and beliefs in rural 17th century England. ...more
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