‘Wakenhyrst is an outstanding new piece of story-telling, a tale of mystery and imagination laced with terror.’
Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a grand gothic tale and psychological thriller. It opens in 1966. At nearly 70, Maud Stearne has been living the life of a recluse for 50 years in the tiny village of Wakenhyrst in the Suffolk fens. The discovery of three paintings by her father, Edmund Stearne, completed during his time in an asylum, has a reporter asking questions. Did he really commit murder all those years ago? Maud knows. She witnessed her father, icepick in hand. And while she’s remained silent until now, she needs some money to fix some storm damage on her historic home, Wake’s End, so agrees to meet the journalist. Through Maude, and her father’s journals, we are propelled into a chilling past.
After Maud’s mother died in childbirth, she was raised by her father, a historian and a controlling man. Maud is a lonely child who secretly reads her father’s personal journals. When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened and he descends into madness and paranoia. Maud struggles to survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father’s past.
Wakenhyrst is an outstanding new piece of story-telling by Michelle Paver, a tale of mystery and imagination laced with terror. It is a masterwork in the modern gothic tradition that ranges from Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Neil Gaiman and Sarah Perry.
Wake’s End and the surrounding fens provide the perfect atmospheric setting and it haunted my thoughts long after I put the book down. While much of the novel is set in the Edwardian era, the tale of female oppression is timely. Maud is a wonderful character, brave and smart, and the phenomenal storytelling keeps the reader turning the pages to the very end. Fans of bestselling author Michelle Paver won’t be disappointed, and those readers new to her tales will be coming back for more.
Michelle Paver was born in Central Africa but came to England as a child. After gaining a degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University she became a partner in a city law firm, but eventually gave that up to write full time. She is the bestselling author of the adult gothic novels Dark Matter and Thin Air and the prizewinning, children’s series, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, which sold a million copies.