The Witchfinder's Serpent - Book Review

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Book Review of :  The Witchfinder's Serpent


 Author Rande Goodwin’s historical fantasy, The Witchfinder’s Serpent, has elements of well-researched history combined with a contemporary setting in an intriguing mystery. The story opens with a back story. Way back in England in 1645, Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General, set about to identify, test, lead to trial and execute witches. He made a name for himself and pocketed funds for his services. The Witch Hunts in England lead to Witch Hunts in New England. 1647 is the date of the hanging of Alse Young near Windsor, Conn. The story of her daughter, Allie, is speculative fiction.

The year 2019 finds orphaned fifteen-year-old Nate Watson and his younger brother, Marc, who have moved to Windsor, Conn. Their mysterious Aunt Celia willingly accepts the boys into her home on the condition that they do not try to enter a forbidden, locked room in her mysterious mansion. Strange happenings lead the boys to investigate the prohibited room, where they find a witch’s workshop, mysterious artifacts, and a live crow. They begin to investigate magick (Magic? Or Magick? The latter seems to be more associated with the occult. Reader, decide). A powerful magical metal serpent wraps around Nate’s arm. It appears to be permanently attached. Trying to remove it leads the boys to discover bizarre creatures and happenings.

Well-crafted flashbacks to the 1600s enlighten the Reader as to the foundation of ancient vendettas that involve Aunt Celia and the boys’ ancestry. The tale takes a turn to fiction based on historical facts. Returning to 2019, Nate, his brother, and his skeptical friends become engrossed in trying to learn more about the ancient happenings in their town and how that may be influencing increasingly mysterious events.

To complicate the boys’ adjustment to their new home and school, the brothers and their new friends discover that they have crossed the path of the Ducks, three high school bullies determined to cause them havoc and pain. The brothers are then confronted by a powerful ancient enemy who will use terrible magic and a willingness to murder to get the serpent bracelet back from Nate. How does this all involve Aunt Celia and the other adults in town? Who is stirring up a new fear of witches, and why? Who is the magician who deploys many magical powers to control them? 

The author, a resident of New England, has evidenced research into the Witch Hunts of historical times. His ability to relate history to contemporary life is phenomenal. Goodwin enlightens readers on the power of propaganda, innuendos, and rumors to sway even the most intelligent individuals. This young adult book will cause readers to stretch their imaginations and look at local history creatively. The big question is, will readers be presented with a sequel?  Maybe you should be looking for a novel titled, "The Witchfinder’s Bargain."

Reviewed by: carole

About Rande Goodwin


Rande Goodwin is a full-time IT professional and part-time raptor trainer (the prehistoric kind). In his free time, he enjoys reading and travel, restoring vintage Borg drones, dusting vamps in Sunnydale, and being one with the Force. Oh, and writing is fun too. He lives in New England with his wife, two daughters and four dogs.

Visit for more information on Rande Goodwin


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