Friday, May 04, 2012

The Flight of the Sorceress by Barry S. Willdorf

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 16th June 2011
Pages: 230
Book Source: Courtesy of author

 Falsely accused of sorcery, pursued across the crumbling Roman Empire by a tenacious bishop, the sorceress barely escapes the death by stoning.

It is 410 A.D. Rome is in decline. 

Church and state unite in a desperate attempt to preserve the Empire, instituting oppressive measures against women, eliminating religious dissenters and enslaving the poor. Books are burned, Teachers censored. Creativity crushed. A Dark Age falls across Western Europe.

But two women resist.

My Thoughts:
Glenys, Celtic healer & herbalist in Aquae Sulis, Britannia & historical figure Hypatia of Alexandria are the strong female characters in this compelling tale. Set in 410AD, my sparse knowledge of this period in history and Willdorf's skilled storytelling made for a fascinating and page turning experience.

I loved the opening chapter; it detailed Glenys using her herbal and midwifery skills in a difficult birthing despite the recent edict prohibiting any engagement in the healing arts. Branded a sorceress she flees to escape the prescribed punishment; death by stoning.

The beautiful Hypatia; renowned philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, teacher and last librarian of The Ancient Library of Alexandria was a symbol of learning, feared by early Christians associating knowledge with paganism. When Glenys & Hypatia's paths cross their friendship is cemented but they, along with Jews and Hellenistic pagans continue to face bigotry, persecution, blind hatred & brutality. 

Hypatia ~ source

Hypatia's murder by a Christian mob was graphically detailed and after doing a little research of my own, I was horrified to read this was quite accurately portrayed. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters Glenys, Hypatia, & Jewish herbalist Aschi but Glenys' relationship with lover Ceallaigh made my skin crawl. Willdorf vividly describes a period in history dominated by misplaced power, religious paranoia, ignorance and persecution but I could have easily consumed more, more pages and more detail. I look forward to more from this author.

Visit Barry S. Willdorf's website to find out more.

Winner of a 2011 Global E-Book Award for historical literature
Finalist for a 2012 EPIC award in historical fiction.



  1. This sounds really good!! Thanks for the great review!!

  2. This sounds interesting and totally out of my comfort zone. But I like to learn new and interesting things so you never know!

    1. I've read very little in this time period Staci and I have to say I enjoyed the history lesson :)

  3. Poor Hypatia :/ I saw there was a movie of her but I did not want to watch her cos what a fate

    1. I'm interested to find out more about her Blodeuedd. This book left me wanting to know more about that period in history which is great. I think I needed a break from Tudor lol


Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box