Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Witch's Trinity by Erika Mailman

Title: The Witch's Trinity
Author: Erika Mailman
ISBN: 978030735153
Publisher: Three Rivers Press/2007
Pages: 257

As soon as I received this book, I started reading it. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Long after finishing the novel, it stays in mind. I would call it one of the best reads of 2008.

The novel is based in a small town in mediaval Germany, which is suffering from severe famine. Food is scarce on the table. And it is severe winters too. Meanwhile a Friar arrives into the town carrying with him a book called Malleus Malefaction, which is supposed to be a guide for identifying witchcraft. He implies that the town is under the spell of witches which are conniving with the Devil.

The narrator, Gude Muller is an old woman living with her son, daughter in law and their two children. She knows that due to the food shortage, her daughter in law wants her out of their life and thus is afraid what she might tell the friar to gain favours.

When Gude's friend, Kunne is taken for a witch and burnt at the stake, Gude knows it is her turn now. Despite her son's support and faith in her, she is very scared. Gude has hallucinations, which seem very real to her. She is filled with guilt because of those and half believes that she is a witch herself. That is most scary part of this book.

This book only emphasises the madness of witch hunting, which kind of spread to all parts of the world like an epidemic. It needed only a few words out of the mouth to condemn someone as a witch. The very poor or the very outspoken were targeted and burnt at the stake without any trial or hearing. Believe me, it still happens in a few parts of India. What has really changed?

It is a very well written novel, which keeps one totally engrossed. After reading The HERetic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent, I am very glad I read it. I recommend both to be read one after the other. They are written in entirely different styles with a common thread of witch hunting.