Book Reviews

The Sorceress and the Postgraduate by Clive Heritage-Tilley

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List Price: £9.99


Paperback: 224 Pages.

Published: 12 December 2017 by Matador

ISBN: 178803970X

EAN: 9781788039703

When an Oxford University student decides to steal an intriguing object from the Pitt Rivers Museum to further his studies, he gets more than he bargained for.

It's 1497 and Albrecht Durer produces the four witches engraving. But there were really five women, not four, and they were sorceresses. All five were condemned to death, but it was decided that the youngest English girl, Constance, should be saved and the four sorceresses cast a spell to suspend her in time.

What ensues is a captivating story as the student with the help of his new assistant embark on an adventure of magic and mystery, in search for secrets locked in the history of time.


2.0 Stars2.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Poor Plot & Characters

I loved the concept of this book - a 15th century sorceress, Constance, is hidden in a bottle to escape death. The idea is that she is freed in a short period of time. Things don't go to plan and she is entombed until the 21st century. Freed by a postgraduate student, Darcy, together they both head off on a series of adventures.

What an excellent idea for a book and it is that alone which allows this a two star rating. Unfortunately the plot (or lack of it), charactisation and writing fall very far short of its potential.

Constance is a conveniently well educated 15th century sorceress who seems able to speak German and speak, read and write modern english and latin. This is despite the changes in the language over the centuries. Constance devours the internet and is bang up to date in a matter of days. Not only does she learn about events but her language and mannerisms are so up to date that it is impossible to distinguish her from any modern day character. She is happy to discuss pirranha's teeth - obviously internet learned as I am sure an english 15th century sorceress wouldn't have heard of them. She quotes Indiana Jones films as well as American sit coms and is happy to use the phrase "Whatever" in the modern manner. The only way to distinguish her from a modern day young lady is that she wears sunglasses as the brightness after being in the bottle for a few hundred years is too much. It is so bad that she doesn't even take them off when in a pitch dark cave! The whole scene where she drives a powerful motorbike through a modern city after only being a passanger once is ridiculous to the extreme.

Unfortunately there are no strong characters  surrounding Constance. Darcy seems to have few morals as he happily "borrows" artifacts as he desires and beds Constance fairly early on in the proceedings. The rest of the cast are minor and I can't even recall any further names which show how little an impression they made on me.

The plot is poor. Constance & Darcy seem to wander around at will exploring old sites and following psychic artifacts without any real purpose.  The last straw for me was the shrinking scene where they travel in the mouth of a fish which is all magically arranged by an ancient artifact of King Arthur - really? I do like fantasy fiction but it does need to be structured and logical.

The language in this book is quite simple and it really doesn't have a rich vocabulary. I stopped and checked if this was a young adult book at one point due to the bland vocabulary but it seems not.

I reached three quarters of the way through this book and realised that I had no desire to complete it. I didn't care about the characters and wasn't sure where the plot was heading. The idea of this book was great but that is where it stopped. Such a shame.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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