by Celia Rees


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"The spellbinding sequel to Witch Child! “Startlingly convincing. . . . Once Agnes’s quest begins, readers will be hooked." — Booklist

It came to Agnes unbidden: a vision of Mary Newbury, a young woman driven from her Puritan settlement, accused of being a witch. It is an image of a life about to change radically, as Mary defies all accepted norms — embracing independence, love, and loyalty to a Native American community that accepts her as one of their own. The two women’s lives are separated by almost four hundred years, but they are linked by more than blood. For, like Mary, Agnes has special powers — powers that Mary seeks to ensure that the rest of her story is told.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763642297
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 05/12/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 603,293
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Celia Rees is the author of many novels for teens. SORCERESS and its predecessor, WITCH CHILD, are her first works of historical fiction. "Having been a teacher," she says, "I think it’s important for readers to see that people in the historical past are just like them - real people who had real problems and real emotions."

Read an Excerpt

-- MARY --

Massachusetts, November 1660

If I am a witch, they will soon know it. I had never ill wished anyone, but as I fled Beulah, anger and hatred clashed together, sparking curses like steel striking flint. I had done no wrong, so why was I forced to run like a fugitive? My accusers, Deborah Vane and the other girls, they were the guilty ones. Even as they denounced me as a witch, their eyes gleamed with scheming malice. The madness twisting their faces was counterfeit. Who could not see it? "Them that’s blind and will not see." My grandmother’s words came to me. She was a wise woman, but her wisdom brought her nothing but sorrow. She ended her life on the hanging tree, and now the same fate awaited me.

They searched, and that most diligently. I cowered in Rebekah’s borning room, thinking to be safe for a little time, but they demanded entry even there, their voices ringing loud with right and duty. Only Martha stood against them, defying Reverend Johnson as brave as a robin before a striking hawk. They went away reluctantly. I tracked them searching through the rest of the house, moving from one room to the next, their heavy tread freighted with hatred.

I got away, but they searched for me still. I heard them hallooing through the woods, saw their torches, tiny bonfire sparks in the blackness. I heard the dogs baying and yelling. Dogs run faster than men.

Snow started falling soon after I fled the town, icy pellets seeding the wind. It began to come thick, ever-more whitening the ground, making it easier for the dogs to pick me out. The first to come upon me was old Tom, Josiah Crompton’s hunting dog. He’s a gazehound, hunting by sight. Old Tom came leaping out of the brush toward me and threw back his long, bony head, making a sound deep in his throat, somewhere between a yelp and a swallowed bark of triumph. This brought the other dogs tumbling to him. They stood ringed about, tongues lolling, eyes bright.

They had me cornered. I backed against a tree and stared at them, waiting for them to spring. Tom crept nearer, the others following, the circle tightening, then he stopped. He stood, head inclined, his short ears cocked as if harking to some sound. The men’s shouting was nearer now. I thought that was what he was hearing and that at any minute he would commence barking, but he did not. He gave me one last look, wheeled around, and made off with all the others streaming after him in a rag and tag mob.

The baying and yelling thinned to nothing. Tom had led the hunt away from me. I was alone again in the forest’s frosty silence. I thought to run on, but tiredness overcame me. I sank down, leaning my back against the tree’s rough bark, intending to gather what strength I had.

I have been here ever since. The snow is still falling, drifting through the air and making no sound, feathering across my cheeks like angel fingers, weighting my eyelids, settling upon me, covering me like a counterpane filled with the finest down.

I feel no cold, but I cannot move. My limbs have no feeling in them. To sleep is to die, I know that, but I cannot keep awake. Sometimes I almost hope that they might come back this way, that they might find me, but I dismiss the thought as soon as it arises. I’d rather die here than be taken. I’d rather freeze to this tree than be hanged.

-- AGNES --

Boston, Massachusetts, April, Present Day

Agnes fell forward, cracking her head sharply on the glass. The screen saver jarred and jerked, just for a second, then the monitor went black and she was looking at her own face staring back, eyes dilated by more than the pain in her forehead. What had that been? Vision or dream? She was cold; she was freezing. Her fingers were bloodless and withered, the nails blue. She looked to the window, expecting to see snow falling, but there was nothing. The sky was a clear evening blue.

Whatever had just happened was as real as any experience of her own, anything that she had ever known. She could not stop shivering. She got up and dragged the quilt off the bed. The quilt was serviceable as well as beautiful, a bright Lone Star, Aunt M’s farewell gift to her. Agnes gripped the edges tight, wrapping it close around her, but still she could not get warm. Teeth chattering, she went to the window, opening it onto the quad below. Sodium streetlights were coming on, bronzing the leaves on the trees. Across the way, desk lamps were beginning to show in the windows of rows of little rooms just like her own. She closed the window and in the gathering darkness shifted her focus, turning the glass into a mirror. She stared at the face staring back at her.

Agnes put her hand up, sweeping back her jet-black hair. She wore it long, past her shoulders. She was only eighteen, but already a few silver hairs were threading down from the parting. She would have a white streak there, just as her aunt had, and her grandmother before her. She frowned, thick dark brows drawing down. The eyes beneath were gray, rimmed with black -- unusual, particularly in her family. The color of her eyes and her faraway gaze had caused her grandmother to name her Karonhisake, Searching Sky.

No one called her that here. To her fellow students, to the staff and faculty, she was Agnes Herne. The only time her tribal name was used was when she was back on the reservation. She did not seek to hide her Native American blood. She did not disguise it; neither did she advertise it. It was who she was. She went home as often as time and vacations would allow, but she’d moved away to go to college and she liked to keep her life in separate compartments.

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Sorceress 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
book_worm91 More than 1 year ago
Sorceress is the sequel to Witch child. This book countines with Mary's escape from th settlement after she is found on putting a cruse on the town by witchcraft. She then joins Jaybird's tribe and becomes a healer. As the story countines we get to learn more about Mary's new life as a healer and the war between the settlers and the indians. Sorceress was a good book to read, it wasn't as good as Witch child but still it was intersting to learn about what happened to Mary. Overall I recommend this book to everyone who has read Witch child.
historicalfictionlover09 More than 1 year ago
Sorceress is an amazing book! It gets you hooked from the beginning and keeps you inthrawled to the very end. I couldn't put it down. Celia Rees makes you feel that you are in the story and that it is actually real and not fiction. It finishes Witch Child perfectly. I highly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im a girl of 15 and i would certainly read it over and over again but the thing is ever time you read it some that you didnt know before you do now so the story makes more sense. I would defintly recomend it to anyone and all my friends!!!!! I would say you need to be about from the age of 13 and over to enjoy this book :)
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
As the latest in a long line of Mohawk women gifted with Medicine Power, college student Agnes Herne knows better than to dismiss the vision. She'd been poised at her computer, debating whether or not to respond to the plea in the afterword of the book she'd just read - the account of Mary Newbury - when the vision hit. Suddenly, she was Mary, running for her life after being accused of witchcraft in seventeenth century America. Although Agnes knows that her Aunt M., the keeper of the tribe's artifacts, would never allow outsiders access, Agnes tells her story to Alison Ellman, the researcher who has developed a near-obsession with Mary's story. As she is planning a follow-up publication to "The Mary Papers," Alison has collected information on nearly every player in the diaries of Mary Newbury...except Mary herself. Can Agnes find a way to convince her aunt to let them examine the one crucial piece of evidence that may prove of Mary's survival after her harrowing escape from the settlement of Beulah? Or will Agnes find out firsthand how Mary fared through this strange connection she seems to have with the admitted witch? I enjoyed discovering Mary Newbury's fate through this sequel, and felt that excellent attention had been paid by the author in being true to the socio-historical issues of Mary's time. However, I stepped away from the novel knowing very little of Agnes Herne or her story, and can't help but feel that the true heroine had been ignored somewhat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good book, interesting and i wasn't bored. Is that Cassie Steele on the cover?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it was really good. I loved how Rees put the native Americans point of view in it. It was sad, wonderfully written, a-mazing,and had a perfect and fullfilling ending. I highly recommend this book!
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sequel to Witch Child. Agnes Herne is a Native American attending college in Boston. After reading part of Mary Newbury's diary, Agnes thinks that Mary might be connected with her family. A story passed down through the generations about a white woman who had settled with the Mohawks shares many similarities with Mary's own words in the diary. Agnes starts to have dreams about Mary that feel more real than her real life. She emails the researcher who found Mary's diary and then visits her aunt on the reservation to find out more about the family stories. Her aunt leads her into a vision quest where she has more visions of Mary's life. Agnes experiences Mary's life through the visions--from her escape from the Puritans, to a brief but happy time with Jaybird and their children. Mary's reputation as a healer grows and the accusations of witchcraft continue to haunt her. She finally finds a home with the Mohawks and ends her life peacefully, a respected healer. The historical notes at the end of the book leave readers with a feeling of authenticity. Sorceress is a beautifully told story peopled with well-developed characters. Readers get a glimpse of what life was like, for the settlers and the Native Americans, when white settlers first came to America. A satisfying conclusion to Mary's story.
nkertz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this is the sequel to witch child. the two stories are connected in such a brilliant way, that it would be close to impossible to understand what was going on in this book without reading the first. this book would great when teaching young learners about the native american culture and the ties to to the puritans. it is historical fiction with a bit of magic and mystery thrown into the works.
luciazanerdini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i was happy when i finished it. if it hadent been for my personal rule that i am to finish any book i start (only failed completely once, the rest im still trying) i wouldent have even finished it. it wasnt written well AT ALL. the only parts i enjoyed were when it was mery's point of view. the whole agnes and her aunt thing was rediculos. if they had kept to mery telling the story it would have been fine. i viewed the rest as unnecicary filler that needed to be delt w/ acordingly. all in all i thought it was a very bad book with some good potential.
WillaCather on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wish the author had just told Mary's story rather than adding the modern day persons at the beginning and the end.
yoda1489 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. As much as possible Celia Rees provided End Notes to back up some of her facts. Having not read "Witch Child" (the prequel), I was easily able to follow the story. I truly enjoyed this piece and could not put it down. I am now inclined to read "Witch Child" and then come back and read "Sorceress" again.
soliloquies on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't enjoy reading this mainly because the modern aspects detracted away from Mary's story. Not as well written as the first, it just seemed like a "nothing" book.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This was good but not as good as the first. Still a good read, uh sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I still think the first one was better. Very intressting and i would recomend it.
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lilmudduckmuffineater More than 1 year ago
I give this book and A+ just like it's prequel. This is the sequel to Witch Child and I'm really glad this book was written.At the end Of Witch Child I just wanted to know more about what happened to Mary and this book does a great job of telling you. We get to meet people from the present working to find out what happened and we get to see Mary's life through Agnes a modern Irquois native girl. We also get to see how Native Americans were treated by the English and the French during their times of warring and it made me a lil upset just how many people don't know.It was tragic and it really made me mad that's how our country came to be. But if you love native culture,history, and good well written books then you will definatly love this one like I did.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was interesting but the first book still is much more fun for me to read
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