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Crane Pond: A Novel of Salem
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Richard Francis's stunning novel Crane Pond is the story of Samuel Sewall, loving father and husband, anti-slavery advocate, defender of Native American rights, and presiding judge at the Salem Witchcraft Trials in 1692, where he sentenced 20 innocent women to death. He was the only judge to later admit his terrible mistake, and ask for forgiveness. At once a searing view of the Trials from the inside out, an empathetic portrait of one of the period's most tragic and redemptive figures, and an indictment of the malevolent power of religious and political idealism.
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About the Author

Richard Francis was educated at Cambridge and Harvard. He has written 17 books, both fiction and nonfiction, including a number of books on American history and thought. His award-winning novels and books of nonfiction have been published by leading houses in London and New York, including Fourth Estate, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, W.W. Norton, Faber & Faber, and Pantheon. He and his wife live in Bath.

Reviews

Praise for Crane Pond "Few have so nimbly conjured with Sewall and his silence as Richard Francis, author of an excellent 2005 biography of the Salem justice. [...] Now Francis has revisited the episode in a work of fiction, arguably the closest a biographer comes to setting his book to music. The quiet 'must haves' of the biography burst into exuberant set pieces in the novel, Crane Pond." --Stacy Schiff, The New York Review of Books "This is an entertaining and stimulating novel, richly peopled, that brings Salem, and the forms of belief that gave rise to it, to life with freshness, energy, intelligence -- and with terrible and arresting proximity." --Spectator "[Crane Pond] gives a complete world-picture, offers the reader an alternative place to go and live for a time, and a new language to speak. In short, it goes straight on to my (small) list of historical novels that draw out the capacities of the form and allow readers to brush against the pleasures and terrors of the past." --Hillary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall "I've loved diving deep into the fascinating world of this book: Richard Francis manages to make us feel its dailyness and it's strangeness both at once. Sewall's gathering unease, as he realises he's made his terrible mistake, is so brilliantly embodied in all the thick, foody, fleshly, weather-ridden detail of his ordinary life." --Tessa Hadley, author of The Past "Francis draws us into this fascinating world with his particular brand of philosophical questioning-he is concerned with clarity, precision and truth-and his clean, humanising prose is a joy to read. A remarkable portrait of Sewall at a critical moment in history." --Nikita Lalwani, author of Gifted and The Village "Francis' measured narration allows the suffering, piety, and tragic delusions of events to emerge with clarity." --Kirkus Reviews "Crane Pond is fascinatingly engaging and thought provoking, the best kind of storytelling." --Shelf Awareness "Set in the time just before, during, and then four years after the [Salem Witch] trials, this deftly crafted novel perfectly balances issues of religion, faith, and law." --Library Journal "In Crane Pond, Richard Francis creates a nuanced, compassionate and fascinating portrait of Samuel Sewall, the unwilling hanging judge.... But Francis does more: taking us beyond the complacency with which we often view this iconic moment in American history." --Historical Novel Society Praise for Richard Francis "The Whispering Gallery is beautifully written . . . This is a piece of work that should not be missed." --Newgate Callendar, The New York Times "[Taking Apart the Poco Poco is] a comic novel with a heart and soul, the kind of book one always wants to read but can never find." --Nick Hornby, The Observer "[Judge Sewall's Apology is] the most balanced and richly contextualized account of the Salem trials currently in print." --John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph "Francis writes with rare elegance and a well-turned wit." --Miranda Seymour, The Daily Telegraph "In the reading business, one doesn't often come across a book one wishes would never end; but this is precisely what exists in this truly splendid novel." --Katherine Powers, Boston Sunday Globe on Taking Apart the Poco Poco" Praise for Crane Pond "This is an entertaining and stimulating novel, richly peopled, that brings Salem, and the forms of belief that gave rise to it, to life with freshness, energy, intelligence -- and with terrible and arresting proximity." --Spectator "[Crane Pond] gives a complete world-picture, offers the reader an alternative place to go and live for a time, and a new language to speak. In short, it goes straight on to my (small) list of historical novels that draw out the capacities of the form and allow readers to brush against the pleasures and terrors of the past." --Hillary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall "I've loved diving deep into the fascinating world of this book: Richard Francis manages to make us feel its dailyness and it's strangeness both at once. Sewall's gathering unease, as he realises he's made his terrible mistake, is so brilliantly embodied in all the thick, foody, fleshly, weather-ridden detail of his ordinary life." --Tessa Hadley, author of The Past "Francis draws us into this fascinating world with his particular brand of philosophical questioning-he is concerned with clarity, precision and truth-and his clean, humanising prose is a joy to read. A remarkable portrait of Sewall at a critical moment in history." --Nikita Lalwani, author of Gifted and The Village "Francis' measured narration allows the suffering, piety, and tragic delusions of events to emerge with clarity." --Kirkus Reviews "Crane Pond is fascinatingly engaging and thought provoking, the best kind of storytelling." --Shelf Awareness "Set in the time just before, during, and then four years after the [Salem Witch] trials, this deftly crafted novel perfectly balances issues of religion, faith, and law." --Library Journal "In Crane Pond, Richard Francis creates a nuanced, compassionate and fascinating portrait of Samuel Sewall, the unwilling hanging judge.... But Francis does more: taking us beyond the complacency with which we often view this iconic moment in American history." --Historical Novel Society Praise for Richard Francis "The Whispering Gallery is beautifully written . . . This is a piece of work that should not be missed." --Newgate Callendar, The New York Times "[Taking Apart the Poco Poco is] a comic novel with a heart and soul, the kind of book one always wants to read but can never find." --Nick Hornby, The Observer "[Judge Sewall's Apology is] the most balanced and richly contextualized account of the Salem trials currently in print." --John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph "Francis writes with rare elegance and a well-turned wit." --Miranda Seymour, The Daily Telegraph "In the reading business, one doesn't often come across a book one wishes would never end; but this is precisely what exists in this truly splendid novel." --Katherine Powers, Boston Sunday Globe on Taking Apart the Poco Poco" Praise for Crane Pond "I've loved diving deep into the fascinating world of this book: Richard Francis manages to make us feel its dailyness and it's strangeness both at once. Sewall's gathering unease, as he realises he's made his terrible mistake, is so brilliantly embodied in all the thick, foody, fleshly, weather-ridden detail of his ordinary life." Tessa Hadley, author of The Past "Francis draws us into this fascinating world with his particular brand of philosophical questioning he is concerned with clarity, precision and truth and his clean, humanising prose is a joy to read. A remarkable portrait of Sewall at a critical moment in history." Nikita Lalwani, author of Gifted and The Village Francis' measured narration allows the suffering, piety, and tragic delusions of events to emerge with clarity." Kirkus Reviews "Crane Pond is fascinatingly engaging and thought provoking, the best kind of storytelling. Shelf Awareness "Set in the time just before, during, and then four years after the [Salem Witch] trials, this deftly crafted novel perfectly balances issues of religion, faith, and law." Library Journal Praise for Richard Francis The Whispering Gallery is beautifully written . . . This is a piece of work thatshould not be missed. Newgate Callendar, The New York Times [Taking Apart the Poco Poco is] a comic novel with a heart and soul, the kindof book one always wants to read but can never find. Nick Hornby, The Observer [Judge Sewall s Apology is] the most balanced and richly contextualizedaccount of the Salem trials currently in print. John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph Francis writes with rare elegance and a well-turned wit. Miranda Seymour, The Daily Telegraph In the reading business, one doesn t often come across a book one wisheswould never end; but this is precisely what exists in this truly splendid novel. Katherine Powers, Boston Sunday Globe on Taking Apart the Poco Poco" Praise for "Crane Pond " A finely crafted consideration of responsibility within a familiar historical tale. "Kirkus Reviews " Praise for Richard Francis "The Whispering Gallery "is beautifully written . . . This is a piece of work thatshould not be missed. Newgate Callendar, "The New York Times " ["Taking Apart the Poco Poco "is] a comic novel with a heart and soul, the kindof book one always wants to read but can never find. Nick Hornby, "The Observer " ["Judge Sewall s Apology "is] the most balanced and richly contextualizedaccount of the Salem trials currently in print. John Adamson, "Sunday Telegraph " Francis writes with rare elegance and a well-turned wit. Miranda Seymour, "The Daily Telegraph " In the reading business, one doesn t often come across a book one wisheswould never end; but this is precisely what exists in this truly splendid novel. Katherine Powers, "Boston Sunday Globe "on "Taking Apart the Poco Poco"" Praise for Richard Francis "The Whispering Gallery "is beautifully written . . . This is a piece of work thatshould not be missed. Newgate Callendar, "The New York Times " ["Taking Apart the Poco Poco "is] a comic novel with a heart and soul, the kindof book one always wants to read but can never find. Nick Hornby, "The Observer " ["Judge Sewall s Apology "is] the most balanced and richly contextualizedaccount of the Salem trials currently in print. John Adamson, "Sunday Telegraph " Francis writes with rare elegance and a well-turned wit. Miranda Seymour, "The Daily Telegraph " In the reading business, one doesn t often come across a book one wisheswould never end; but this is precisely what exists in this truly splendid novel. Katherine Powers, "Boston Sunday Globe "on "Taking Apart the Poco Poco""

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