The History of a Word 02/07/20
Publisher: Chicken House
It's England in the 17th century, and the witch hunts are at their height. Alyce has been brought up hidden from the world by her mother, knowing she must never reveal the fact that they are witches. But when the sinister John Hopkins arrives and her mother is arrested and burnt at the stake, Alyce has to run for her life.
All she has is a message in code and the mysterious instruction: go to John Dee, the Hangman. As she heads for London, she has no idea that she is at the centre of a web of intrigue that reaches all the way to the top and that her own dark powers are just beginning to awaken…
There are some genuinely frightening moments of witchery and dark description in this work of alternative history. Coupled with a love story that isn’t too smoochy for younger readers to enjoy, a strong heroine, a sensitive hero and some ironic cross-dressing, this makes for a refreshing and enjoyable read. Although the story is enough of an adventure romp to appeal to pre-teen readers, be aware that there is occasional swearing, plus some atmospheric horror.