Maleficium is a new introductory book which deals with the European witch hunts of the 1500-1600s. The subtitle, 'Witchcraft and Witch Hunting in the West', indicates its scope and focus. Napier begins with a review of beliefs in witchcraft, then turns to the Inquisition and their manuals, the Protestant Reformation, the popular belief in fairies, and the geographical progression of the witch-hunts. The book looks at both Britain and the Continent, and touches on the New World. It is a solid work, which we at Treadwell's recommend to readers who want to learn what the witch-hunts were all about. It is engagingly written and is based on recent historical scholarship. It is illustrated, and the writing is enriched with the many references to folklore as well as to the historical and archival records which underpin the research in the field.
Stroud: Amberley Publishing, 2017. Hardback with dustjacket, 288 pages. New.