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Publisher's Summary

Now an Apple TV series starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston

The Sunday Times number one bestseller

Overall Book of the Year and Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2017 (Nibbies)

Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

The Waterstones Book of the Year 2016

Shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award

London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne's controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Along with her son Francis - a curious, obsessive boy - she leaves town for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge.

On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith.

As he tries to calm his parishioners, Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both.

The Essex Serpent is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take.

©2016 Sarah Perry (P)2022 Profile Books Ltd

What listeners say about The Essex Serpent

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-26-22

Essex Serpent

The story is well plotted, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the narration; was she reading from an autocue? Strange phrasing, and some odd pronunciation-s (Collect, pulpit Luke - Garrett)

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  • Jill Catherine Reed
  • 05-22-22

Beautifully read

I was drawn into the story by a kind of love for the central character, Cora. Her honesty and ability to convey her feelings with a transparency and simple beauty of language stopped me in my tracks many times. The metaphors, the theological debates and historical facts were at another level, one I will reread to study, but for now it was pleasure enough to enjoy the story and the people in it.

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  • Susan Gilks
  • 05-21-22

Boring and pointless.

OMG I lost the will to live listening to this book. Its boring, the characters are not remotely interesting, I just kept listening hoping it would liven up. I've got 7 hours to go and can't stand it any longer. I actually paid for this with extra credits because apple have brought it out as a series, so I thought it must be good. In my humble opinion, don't waste your time.

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  • S K NOWLER
  • 05-21-22

Wonderful! (With just one niggling complaint.)

This is my favourite type of literature, which is a compliment because most of my favourite authors are dead. There is a slight tendency to reflect modern issues onto an older era, which is where I prefer authors of the past writing of their own time, but that's a personal preference. This is a good story, beautifully written. There are metaphors, moral questions, contradictions and unrequited love. It's a thoroughly satisfying listen.
The narrator is perfect for the text but I have one niggling complaint. Why don't editors check that narrators know how to pronounce place names? St Osyth is not St Ossith, it's St Oh-zith. (Not quite so bad as one narrator who failed to pronounce West Ham.)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-18-22

A REMARKABLE TALE

Such a splendid story of a wonderful protagonist.
A very special narration and I look forward to reading Sarah Perry’s next book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-17-22

Simply wonderful

Brilliantly written and original story.
First class narration.
Highly recommend a listen. Didn’t want it to end.

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  • Fran Turner
  • 05-17-22

Romance and drama

Not my general genre but I thought I'd have a listen. Very well written with distinctive characters. The narrator read it well portraying the characters.
As for the story it was slow going and I felt I was wading through the mud of the Blackwater shoreline. I did think Stella just a bit too trusting though ramblings through her deteriorating did make her sound like she tripping on hallucinogens.