First things first: Michael Harrison needs an editor. His writing is fantastic, but there were at least 30 pages that kept popping up repeatedly. So you get to page 130, and suddenly it repeats the pages from 112 onwards for a while, before jumping back to the present. I thought I was going mad, but surprisingly not.

Other than that, the book is interesting and relatively well-researched; he’s a bit too much of a ‘Murrayite’ for my liking, but that’s all down to personal taste (and, arguably, academic rigour). Harrison traces The Roots of Witchcraft through the witch trials, focusing on the strong Basque influence on the language. Being in the process of writing about the influence of linguistics on the witch trials myself, I was interested to read someone else’s point of view, and found it fairly enlightening, though it was in fact little more than a conglomeration of things I’ve read before, with a bit more emphasis on the Basque side of things.

All in all, however, definitely worth a read.

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