Sandy Beech doesn’t believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his skepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her death bed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, marries Rocky from the Ivory Coast. Five years later, childless and with the marriage souring, they decide to visit Rocky’s home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch’s List – a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure… The Witch’s List is the first of a trilogy.
The description of the book and the cover hooked me when I was asked to read and review this book.
“Once you’re on the Witch’s List, you are as good as dead.” That was the best hook for me!
Sandy is living and going to school as a normal Scottish lad. Not so popular, but good at hiding from the bullies. This is where he discovers an old book about witches and black magic. He and his friend are really more interested in the sexy pictures but one day decide to test the book against the Bible. When the book catches fire, Sandy is not quite sure what to think.
As he goes off to school in France, he falls hard for a beautiful African girl. Even though he has been warned by the nun, Bernadette and others to stay far away from African women, he just can’t. He falls in love and marries what he thinks is the love of his life.
Until a trip back to the Ivory Coast to visit her relatives. From here things took a strange turn and I am really glad to hear this is a trilogy as I had a lot more questions!
One of the things I liked best about Mr. Cairn’s writing was the use of the every day Scottish language. Sandy and his friends talk exactly the way they would in their part of the world and I enjoyed that.
What a really good book for us history buffs too. We wait impatiently for the next one!
About the Author:
Andrew Cairns wrote “The Witch’s List” in 2014-2015 – about fifteen years after a memorable one-month visit to the Ivory Coast in 1999. The book is inspired by some of the experiences and stories which he heard out there, and also by his experiences of growing up in Scotland and moving to France where he has lived/worked most of his adult life.
Keep up to date with information/events on “The Witch’s List” and the next two books in the trilogy, by following his blog/facebook page: