The Essex Serpent (Hardback)
  • The Essex Serpent (Hardback)
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The Essex Serpent (Hardback)

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£14.99
Hardback 432 Pages / Published: 27/05/2016
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Winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year 2016

British Book Awards Book of the Year 2017

The sumptous, exclusive hardbound gift edition, exclusive to Waterstones

From the moment Sarah Perry’s second novel fell into our bookselling hands, we all instantly knew this was a title that shared our bookselling DNA. A murder, a monster, a love story and a heroine to rival the greats of 19th century literature collide to make this the most deeply satisfying of fiction. We proudly present The Essex Serpent, the winner of our Waterstones Book of the Year 2016.

Strange News Out of Essex...

The Essex earth had bucked as if trying to shake off all its towns and villages; for twenty seconds, no more, a series of convulsions that paused once as if breath were being drawn and then began again.

Set in 1893 and firmly rooted in the author’s home county of Essex, the novel centres on the character of Cora Seaborne, a widow freed from a controlling, unhappy marriage. Retreating to the Essex countryside with her son, she hears the rumours surrounding the so-called ‘Essex Serpent’, a creature of folklore being blamed for a spate of deaths and disturbances and the cause of escalating panic in the local community. Her ensuing investigations bring her into contact with a clergyman, William Ransome, a man convinced of finding the answer to local hysteria in faith, just as Cora is on finding it in science. Despite their differing opinions, their lives become ever-more enmeshed, finding themselves bound to each other in ways neither could anticipate.


the_essex_serpent_muralOur The Essex Serpent mural at Waterstones Manchester Deansgate

The Essex Serpent blazed as the overwhelming choice by our booksellers to be their Book of the Year. It is one of those novels that takes possession of the reader in a physical embrace; to finish it is to feel released, deeply satisfied at every level. It is a treasure and we recommend this wonderful book to everyone.” – James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones

Also shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award

Read our Sarah Perry interview on the Waterstones blog.

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781781255445
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 575 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 38 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS

"The Essex Serpent is one of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade." - Nick Rennison, Sunday Times 

"An irresistible novel that taps the vein of Victorian gothic and British myth." - Daily Telegraph 

"Hardy-esque ... a rich and complex novel but also a deeply enjoyable read, with warm humanity at its core." - Jeff Robson, iPaper 

"An irresistible novel ... Perry's Victoriana is the most fresh-feeling I can remember ... Her prose is often beautiful ... the tone is a masterstroke ... -- Charlotte Runcie" - Daily Telegraph 

"One day this book will make a fine BBC period drama ... Perry is a wonderful descriptive writer with a remarkable talent for making the familiar strange." - The Times

"The Essex Serpent is a novel to relish: a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author." - Sarah Waters

"Had Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker come together to write the great Victorian novel, I wonder if it would have surpassed The Essex Serpent?" - John Burnside

"A big, warm, generous novel that wears its considerable wisdom lightly, The Essex Serpent is an absolute pleasure from start to finish - I truly didn't want it to end." - Melissa Harrison

"The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry [is] a joyous and beguiling book that wrapped itself around me rather like its eponymous monster." - Cathy Rentzenbrink

"A blissful novel of unapologetic appetites, where desire and faith mingle on the marshes, but friendship is the miracle.. here is a writer who understands life." - Jessie Burton

"A book to make you want to be a better person." - Justine Jordan, The Guardian

"I loved this book. At once numinous, intimate and wise...It is so good its pages seem lit from within. As soon as I'd finished it I started reading it again." - Helen MacDonald

"A sinuous historical novel by the genius that is Sarah Perry." - Lucy Mangan, Stylist 

"An historical novel with real depth ... Perry writes fantastically, and this deserves attention for the rest of the year." - Steven Cooper, The Bookseller 

"An intelligent, lushly written gothic yarn." - Claire Allfree, Metro 

"Sarah Perry's new novel The Essex Serpent is a thing of beauty inside and out. For only a second novel it's a stunning achievement, one for which I predict prize nominations galore..." - Lucy Scholes, Independent online

"A richly themed and exhilarating novel ..." - Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail 

"The Essex Serpent is shot through with such a vivid, lively sense of the period that it reads like Charles Dickens at his most accessible." - Charlotte Heathcote, Daily Express 

"Based on The Essex Serpent and its predecessor, it's clear that Perry is a gifted writer of immense ability." - Sinead Gleeson, Irish Times 

"An eerie tale of science and superstition ... gothically good." - Eithne Farry, Sunday Express 

"The Essex Serpent is rare in being a novel that is both highly diverting and intellectually rewarding, in taking its thematic interests seriously while playing delightedly with romance and the Gothic." - Sarah Moss, The Lancet 

"It's a brilliantly written story of one woman's life and relationships in late Victorian England and my favourite historical novel since Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger." - Irish Independent

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Reviews

View all

“Book about love, passion and ideas...”

Set in Victorian London and an Essex village, in the late 19th century, this is the story of a clash of Gothic folklore and the scientific discoveries of its time. In an essence, it is a beautifully written story of... More

Hardback edition
21st March 2016
Helpful? Upvote 226

“A glorious sense of place”

This is a wonderful book, with a glorious sense of place and a delightful cast of characters - I loved Cora Seaborne and everything she stood for & hope to meet her again at some point.

Hardback edition
16th April 2016
Helpful? Upvote 132

“It will match any Victorian mystery”

Cora Seaborne has moved to Aldwinter, an Essex parish, upon the burial of her husband. Rumours are rife that the Essex Serpent, a marsh-dwelling creature first seen in the 17th Century, has returned, leaving Cora... More

Hardback edition
26th May 2016
Helpful? Upvote 126

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