cover image City of Crows

City of Crows

Chris Womersley. Europa (PGW, dist.), $17 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-60945-470-8

Womersley (Bereft) makes the early history of French witchcraft the backbone of this ghoulishly pleasing novel set in 17th-century Provence. To save the life of her last remaining child, Charlotte Picot flees her small village of Saint-Gilles after the plague kills her husband and two daughters. Just after leaving, Charlotte is attacked by bandits who capture her son. She wakes alone in the woods with the help of an old woman who pulls her back to life and gives her sinister powers that allow her to summon demons. Meanwhile, Adam Lesage is freed from prison in possession of a map that shows the location of a hidden fortune in Paris, guarded by dark spirits. On his way, Lesage meets Charlotte, who believes that Lesage is a demon she summoned to help retrieve her son. Fascinated and frightened by Charlotte’s powers, Lesage agrees to help find her son in hopes that she too will help him find his fortune. Together, they travel to Paris—the City of Crows—and enter the dark, evil underworld of spirits and witches. Based on medieval popularity of witchcraft in France and the history of the plague, Womersley weaves a haunting tale of the drastic lengths people will go to achieve their deepest desires. (Sept.)