Celia Rees


Sorceress cover


The sequel to Witch Child. Shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book Award 2002

Over three hundred years separate Agnes Herne from Mary Newbury, but they are linked inextricably by more than blood. Some of Mary’s special powers have come down to Agnes and through her the rest of Mary’s remarkable story can be told.

Celia’s comments

Witch Child began life as one big book, with all the elements of Sorceress within it, but this proved too unwieldy. It made sense to split it into two books, the first volume containing just Mary’s diary, the second would continue her story through the experiences of Agnes Herne, her present day descendent. The two books would be linked by the character of Alison Ellman, the paper conservator who collated and published the original journal and now wants to know about what happened to Mary and the others after the diary ends.


‘Mary’s story evokes an atmosphere and tension that transports the reader back in time. Celia Rees has written a satisfying and well-researched sequel to Witch Child that encourages questions about different beliefs and customs, and ultimately about our place in the world.’ Katherine Roberts, Waterstones Books Quarterly

"With a striking jacket, this promises to be a great follow up, featuring the same strong female characters, lyrical narration and compelling historical episodes that made Rees’s first telling of Mary Newbury’s story so powerful." The Bookseller

"Sorceress is a wonderful sequel, featuring Mary’s descendent Agnes, a modern day Native American. The novel moves compellingly between past and present to complete a brilliant tale while providing insightful views into Native American history." Irish Post

‘Reading this week is a magical experience in more ways than one. Celia Rees researched this thoroughly and her fine writing brings to life every detail of their day-to-day life. Full of evocative descriptions, . the magic entices and rewards the reader with a wonderful story of love, friendship, survival and courage.’ Carousel

‘a fine achievement, memorably describing times when teenagers had problems that make today’s frustrations seem tame.’ Nicholas Tucker, Independent

‘the compelling sequel to Witch Child.This is a substantial, well-crafted and highly readable novel.’ Good Book Guide

‘Celia Rees’s Witch Child, a strikingly original novel for teenagers, was rewarded with critical acclaim and a place on the Guardian shortlist. Sorceress, the sequel, deserves the same success.Precise evocation of place, people, terrain and vegetation, in language that is suggestive but not over-strenuous in its imitation of 17th century idiom, makes Sorceress as pleasurable to the ear as Bloomsbury’s quality presentation makes it to the eye. Far superior in scope and execution to the teen angst routinely offered to this age group, it must surely appear on imminent shortlists.’ Linda Newbery, Armadillo

‘a very readable story, and Rees’s research on the period is thorough.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Prepare your daughter for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible with this gripping story narrated by Emilia Fox. Finding something worth reading for the 12-plus age range that doesn’t hinge on boy bands, supermodels and designer trainers isn’t easy, but this is a genuine page-turner. It’s not history dumbed down, but vividly brought to life.’ Sue Arnold, Guardian (audio book review)

‘A stunning sequel.Celia Rees combines creative storytelling that takes your concepts of fantasy to the limit, with fact filled and historic knowledge to create an enchanting story that twists your imagination to the core.’ Sarah Watson, age 16, Feedback (Plymouth Young People’s Review)

‘The story is packed with incident, and its territory – geographical and anthropological – is a fascinating one, throwing what will be for many readers an unfamiliar light on America’s past and peoples. For me a distinguishing feature of the novel is its prose style. Sorceress is a most impressive achievement, and will surely feature on this year’s shortlists.’ School Librarian