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The Essex Serpent


Sarah Perry

Since the fifteenth century there have been tales of the Essex Serpent or Dragon terrorising villages like Henham and Wormingford. The events of this novel take place in the late 19th century out on the Blackwater estuary where a series of misfortunes and mysterious deaths have led many to believe that the serpent is stalking the land once more, roused from its slumbers by the earthquake of 1884.

Cora is a rich widow from London with a passion for science and a stubborn refusal to play the ladylike role expected of her. Defying convention she hikes alone in muddy boots searching for fossils around the coast. There she meets William Ransome, vicar of the local parish. Although their backgrounds are vastly different they are drawn together, enjoying fierce arguments about the importance of science and reason over religious beliefs and superstition.

Set in and around Colchester, this brilliantly original and beautifully written tale of superstition, faith, science and love will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

A book that will put Essex on the literary map.

Serpent’s Tail, paperback , £8.99