The Last Witchfinder: A Novel Morrow, James March 14, 2006

This is a rollicking read for any freethinker. Starring Jennet Stearne as the precocious daughter of a preacher who hangs witches for a living, this exciting book set in the pre-American Enlightenment is narrated in part by the Principia Mathematica and includes as a major character, the saucy Ben Franklin. After Jennet witnesses the gruesome death of her aunt for sorcery, she makes it her mission to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act. What follows is a whirlwind tour of Europe and colonies, as Jennet - a self-taught natural philosopher - tries to find scientific proof of that witchcraft is bunk. But can she survive - can she even defend herself - if she’s accused witchcraft herself?

This fantastic exploration of the essential tension between religious fervor and scientific pursuit is smart, fun and beautifully written.

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