Witch Hill by Marcus Sedgwick
  

Witch Hill

Written by Marcus Sedgwick

11+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

A brilliant, dark and compelling read that cleverly interweaves the story of a 17th century witch into the life of a boy whose world is forever haunted by fire, for his family home was destroyed by it as was his sister. Sensational writing will ensure it’s almost a one sitting read.

Synopsis

Witch Hill by Marcus Sedgwick

Something terrifying is happening to Jamie in Crownhill, the village where he's been sent to get over a family tragedy. Something to do with an evil old witch who gets into his dreams, determined to do him harm, and a frightened girl, the victim of a long-ago witch hunt, whose presence lingers on.

Reviews

After the trauma of a house fire, Jamie is sent by his parents to the village of Crownhill to live with his Aunt Jane and cousin Alison. However, far from being a sleepy village, it has a dark and disturbing past. The chalk figure on the hill, revealed by the painstaking work of Jane and the villagers, confirms the village's shocking legacy. Jamie's dreams are haunted by the fire, in which his sister nearly died, and by the figure of a ragged, horrifying witch. The story will appeal to teenagers who enjoy seeing the link between past and present. Jamie is an appealing hero, who battles in life and in his dreams to come to terms with his fears. Alison and Aunt Jane are quite well drawn but since they are both holding something back from Jamie, in the mistaken belief that it is for his own protection, they do not interact with him as closely as the reader would expect. Nevertheless, Sedgwick's description draws the reader in to Jamie's nightmares, and we can see how easily modern prejudices stem from ancient beliefs in the villager's treatment of Jane and Alison. (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick

One of the World Book Day 2015 Authors Marcus was our Guest Editor in July 2010. Click here to see all his selections.

Marcus began to write seriously in 1994, and his first book, Floodland, was published by Orion in 2000, and won the Branford-Boase award for best debut children's novel. Witch Hill followed in 2001, and was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

The Kiss of Death was published in paperback in April 2009, and picked up a thread from his highly acclaimed My Swordhand is Singing (winner of the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Book Award). In between came what Marcus calls “my big one - a project I've been working on for so long my head hurts.” – Blood Red Snow White, which was first published to considerable acclaim in 2007.

2009 saw Marcus turn his attention to books for younger readers with the launch of a humorous new series: The Raven Mysteries, narrated by a grumpy raven, Edgar. Titles are Flood and Fang, Ghosts and Gadgets and Lunatics and Luck. The sixth book in the series, Creepy Caves, will be published in paperback in February 2015.

In his spare time, he is also a stone carver and wood engraver and illustrates all his novels! Marcus lives in Sussex with his wife and his daughter, Alice. Finally Marcus is also a drummer, and at the moment he plays in two bands: visit www.garrett-music.tv, and www.internationalbandofmystery.com to find out more.

Q&A with Marcus Sedgwick

Many of your novels are inspired by history and by myth and legend - have these areas always been a fascination of yours since childhood and if so how did this passion come about?

I love music, both listening to it and playing it (I'm a drummer). A day without music is not a proper day... I also love travel and try to travel as much as I can manage.

It was a single line, the first line in the book in fact. I'd had it for ages but didn't know where I was going to use it until the character of Edgar came along: "I suspect I may have fleas again".

Absolutely, and it was great fun. After writing a few hardcore goth books, it was great to let my hair down with these stories. And it gave me fresh impetus to go back to the next YA novel, Revolver, with renewed determination to be gloomy!

I write at the weekends, and mostly in the study in my loft, but also sometimes I travel to write - eg much of Revolver was written on trips to Sweden.

I started to write as a teenager a bit, but properly when I was in my mid-twenties. It took a few years to think it might actually happen!

The most important thing is to know your market! Who do you think your book is going to be read by? What else is out there that's like it? Are you writing something that will sell?

It varies from book to book but it's not a chore as I love to do research. It's easier than actually writing the things! For Revolver, the research spanned about 16 months, of little trips here and there and lots and lots of reading!

What was your inspiration for Revolver ?

Finding an empty shell casing on the pavement in St Petersburg. It was a long way from there to the finished book but that was the start of it.

What was your favourite book as a teenager?

Without question, the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

If you got into Doctor Who’s tardis, where (or when) would you go?
Great question, impossible to answer. So many amazing things to go and see – the building of the pyramids, a Viking boat putting out to sea, Man Utd winning the European Championship in 1968…

Who would you choose to be if you could be a celebrity for the day?

Matt Bellamy on any day with a gig.

If you were invisible for a day what would you do?

I’m invisible most days, so nothing much would change.

1 - I have an embarrassing middle name, but I'm not going to tell you what it is
2 - I am learning Swedish
3 - As well as playing the drums, I play bass guitar
4 - My grandfather invented the hydraulic tipper truck
5 - I have a pet raven called Edgar, though he doesn’t say much, eat much, or indeed, move much. There’s a possibility that he’s stuffed, I guess.
6 - I’m extraordinarily sleepy right now.
7 - I represented England (Juniors) at Fencing.
8 - I totally love football.
9 - I'm allergic to red peppers
10 - I believe there is only one radio or TV station worth listening to: Radio 3.

Author photo © Kate Christer

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Book Info

Format

Paperback (b Format)
176 pages
Interest Age: From 9

Author

Marcus Sedgwick
More books by Marcus Sedgwick

Author's Website

www.marcussedgwick.com/

Author's Facebook Latest

Publisher

Orion Publishing Co

Publication date

1st July 2005

ISBN

9781858818832

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