The Essex Serpent

The Essex Serpent

Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Hardback Published on: 27/05/2016
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Essex Serpent
Book about love, passion and ideas...
Set in Victorian London and an Essex village, in the late 19th century, this is the story of a clash of Gothic folklore and the scientific discoveries of i... READ MORE
Emine at Bromley
The Essex Serpent
A glorious sense of place
This is a wonderful book, with a glorious sense of place and a delightful cast of characters - I loved Cora Seaborne and everything she stood for & hope ... READ MORE
Valda at Bury St Edmunds Buttermarket
The Essex Serpent
Beautiful and Charming
Sarah Perry captures the essence of the Victorian age spectacularly in The Essex Serpent. Dealing sensitively and intelligently with the oppositions and pr... READ MORE
Saff at Oxford
The Essex Serpent
Gothic mystery
To be honest this is not my normal taste, but the tagline "What if Bram Stoker wrote The Hounds of the Baskerville" caught my attention. And I'm really gla... READ MORE
Chrys - Plymouth
The Essex Serpent
19th Century Historical Fiction.
I was very kindly sent a proof copy of The Essex Serpent by the publishers, the minute I had seen Sarah Waters' review of it I knew I wanted to read it. Wh... READ MORE
Katie Fellows at Oxford
The Essex Serpent
Captures an unfamiliar Essex
Some of my best-beloved fellow Essex girls live in the parts of the county which are so wonderfully described in Sarah Perry’s second novel, The Essex Serp... READ MORE
Jane E Skudder
The Essex Serpent
Wonderfully evocative Victorian gothic novel..
The Essex Serpent is a highly-detailed, historical novel based during Victoria's reign and taking place near the fog riddled estuary at Aldwinter. After h... READ MORE
Lizzie at Worcester


Strange News Out of Essex...

The Essex earth had bucked as if trying to shake off all its towns and villages; for twenty seconds, no more, a series of convulsions that paused once as if breath were being drawn and then began again.

Set in 1893 and firmly rooted in the author’s home county of Essex, the novel centres on the character of Cora Seaborne, a widow freed from a controlling, unhappy marriage. Retreating to the Essex countryside with her son, she hears the rumours surrounding the so-called ‘Essex Serpent’, a creature of folklore being blamed for a spate of deaths and disturbances and the cause of escalating panic in the local community. Her ensuing investigations bring her into contact with a clergyman, William Ransome, a man convinced of finding the answer to local hysteria in faith, just as Cora is on finding it in science. Despite their differing opinions, their lives become ever-more enmeshed, finding themselves bound to each other in ways neither could anticipate.

The Essex Serpent blazed as the overwhelming choice by our booksellers to be their Book of the Year. It is one of those novels that takes possession of the reader in a physical embrace; to finish it is to feel released, deeply satisfied at every level. It is a treasure and we recommend this wonderful book to everyone.” – *James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones

  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9781781255445
  • Number of pages: 432
  • Weight: 575g
  • Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 38 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Essex Serpent
It will match any Victorian mystery
Cora Seaborne has moved to Aldwinter, an Essex parish, upon the burial of her husband. Rumours are rife that the Essex Serpent, a marsh-dwelling creature f... READ MORE
Joy Finlayson
The Essex Serpent
Beautifully written, but a little underwhelming
You'll have read a synopsis by now, so I won't bore you with another. Yes, Ms Perry can write, and yes, the characterisation of the two principals is conv... READ MORE
The Essex Serpent
A great read
I knew from the first few pages that I was in for a treat. One of the books that I didn't want to put down even though the clock showed well after midnight... READ MORE
The Essex Serpent
A Disappointment
Being Waterstones book of the year and shortlisted for the 2016 Costa novel, I was expecting to thoroughly enjoy Sarah Perry's much acclaimed novel. It s... READ MORE
The Essex Serpent
Be still my beating heart
I don’t have a negative word to say about this book. I don’t have enough positive ones to do it justice either. My conversations about it at the bookshop h... READ MORE
Leilah at Doncaster
The Essex Serpent
The best thing I've read in ages - intelligent and true
The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry I only bought this book because of the cover, and it's one of the best things I've read. Seriously. She's a writer who... READ MORE
The Essex Serpent
I really enjoyed this story. The characters come to life and you can see them all in your mind's eye. A little bit reminiscent of the Sherlock Holmes sto... READ MORE
Wendy Derbyshire
The Essex Serpent
Did I miss something here......?
Waterstones Book of the Year 2016? Hmm. For this reader, the novel began well. The story and characters were interesting and drove the narrative. I was exc... READ MORE
Louis Dempsey
The Essex Serpent
Brilliantly written and beautiful to read!
This novel has been chosen as the Waterstones Book of the Year 2016.....So you have to expect that it will be good.... But does this raise your expectation... READ MORE
Fiona Sharp
The Essex Serpent
I quite like the story but found the author tended to drift away from the subject at times.Therefore I think you really have to concentrate when reading th... READ MORE
A Mancunian.
The Essex Serpent
Unusual and enjoyable
A n interesting lead into the story, the relationships and the implied threat of looming disaster. Certainly wanted to read on.
Nadia Young
The Essex Serpent
Having absolutely loved Sarah Perry's first book, After Me Comes The Flood, I was convinced that her second book, The Essex Serpent, couldn't possibly be a... READ MORE
Karen Coles
The Essex Serpent
To be read with a nice cuppa; soothing and hart warming.
The rhythm of the book is like the Essex tides: highs and lows, ebbing and flowing, action and routine. What started as a promising gothic story, ended by ... READ MORE
The Essex Serpent
The Essex Serpent
I adored this book. It had a florid detail which I thought may have disappeared with Dickens and Austen. The interweaving of personalities and stories flow... READ MORE
Cora Newman
The Essex Serpent
Endlessly boring but beautiful written
After reading so many brilliant reviews I was really looking forward to this book. Very disappointed as I was expecting great things, what I got was….Very ... READ MORE
The Essex Serpent
I had a quick flip through this book and it looked really interesting. However as I bought it as a gift I can't comment more except to say the recipient w... READ MORE
Christine Hinton
The Essex Serpent
The most boring book I have ever (half) read.
I hadn't intended to buy this book but was drawn to it by the beautiful cover, (I know, never judge a book and all that...) and told how fabulous it was by... READ MORE
Joanne Oakes
The Essex Serpent
What's In a Name?
I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I didn't love it. The novel draws us into the lives of the two central characters, the recently widowed Cora Seaborne and... READ MORE
The Essex Serpent
Excellent novel
I much enjoyed this book, especially as I live locally and know of all the described locations. Beautifully written and exciting. Much recommended.
The Essex Serpent
Nothing is perfect but a five star rating because of the degree of hyped around everything. This is a wonderful, atmospheric, unique and absorbing story an... READ MORE
Allan Watson
The Essex Serpent
Very enjoyable.
It wasn't quite what I had expected but once I got into it I really enjoyed it.
A Mancunian.
The Essex Serpent
The Essex Serpent
A fascinating account of human relationships, science, nature and myth with, also, allusions to discoveries and advances in medicine and social awareness. ... READ MORE
Eileen Ramberan
The Essex Serpent
A Beautiful Read
The novel captured it's era spectacularly and portrayed its characters with a thought provoking sense of being.
Rowan Cothliff