1567 Aphra is not a normal child. Found abandoned as a baby among the reeds and rushes, the two outcast witches who raise her in their isolated cottage are never sure if she was born, or just pushed up through the foul, black mud for them to find.
Little Aphra's gifts in the dark craft are clear, even as an infant, but soon even her guardians begin to fear her.
When a violent fire destroys their home, Aphra is left to fend for herself.
Years of begging and stealing make her strong, but they also make her bitter, for she is shunned and feared by everyone she meets.
Until she reaches Bryers Guerdon and meets the man they call Long Lankin - the leper.
Ostracized and tormented, he is the only person willing to help her. And together, they plot their revenge. 1962 Four years have passed since the death of Ida Guerdon, and Cora is back in Bryers Guerdon in the manor house her aunt left to her.
It is a cold, bitter winter, and the horrifying events of that sweltering summer in 1958 seem long past.
Until Cora's father arranges for some restoration work to take place at Guerdon Hall, and it seems that something hidden there long ago has been disturbed. The spirit of Aphra Rushes - intent on finishing what she began, four centuries ago.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 496 pages, b+w chapter heads
- Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
- Publication Date: 03/07/2014
- Category: Adventure
- ISBN: 9781782300199
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Review by Goldengrove
The Mark of Cain follows on from Long Lankin, and it is an even darker tale.It tells the story of Aphra Rushes, a 17th century witch. She is a thoroughly unpleasant character, but her tale is a sad one, and she does evoke some sympathy for her life spent on the margins. Abandoned as a child, Aphra is brought up by two 'cunning women' who pass on their secrets. Always in opposition, Aphra is even more alienated from other people by the fear and cruelty of the villagers.The Cora and Mimi from the first book have moved into the old house at Bryers Guerdon with their rather hopeless father who leaves them with other people as much as he can. Although they think that Cain Lankin has been put to rest, the evil in the place is persistent, and Aphra wants her revenge. The book is just as creepy and rooted in folklore as the first, don't read it at bedtime!