City of Crows

"A nightmare labyrinth where superstition rules and where it seems the Devil calls the tune" - The Australian

New York Times Books recommended read
Shortlisted for the Indie Award for Fiction
Readings Books Book of the Month
Better Read than Dead Book of the Month
Riverbend Books Book of the Month
Australian Women's Weekly Great Read

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France, 1673. Desperate to save herself and her only surviving child from an outbreak of plague, the widow Charlotte Picot flees her village to seek sanctuary in Lyon. 

But, waylaid on the road by slavers, young Nicolas is stolen and his mother left for dead. Charlotte fears the boy has been taken to Paris for sale, for it is well known there is no corruption in a man’s heart that cannot be found in that terrible City of Crows.

Yet this is not only a story of Paris and its streets thronged with preachers, troubadours and rogues. It is also the tale of a woman who calls herself a sorceress and a demon who thinks he is a man . . .

A haunting tale of love and witchcraft — about the lengths to which a mother will go to rescue her child, and the lengths to which a damned man will go to save his soul. 

By interweaving the trivial, the humorous and the grisliest of the grisly, Chris Womersley straps us in for a shivery ride.”

“It’s a colorful cast, some of them fictional, some of them real, and when you include the child-trafficking into which Nicolas has been pitched, a side story involving the king’s mistress and, naturally, an old map leading to buried treasure, there’s enough plot for several novels.”

“Unafraid to go where the novel has taken him, Womersley produces a finale that’s both slippery and perfectly in keeping. And beware. Just when you think it’s all over, the author’s note turns out to be as Gothic as the novel itself.”
— New York Times
Chris Womersley’s haunting novel City of Crows will take you into a nightmare labyrinth where superstition rules and where it seems the Devil calls the tune
— The Australian
His writing is poetic and original; his insights into human character are true. Charlotte and Lesage shine as subtle, believable, likeable characters: cruel and treacherous but also funny and touching.
— The Monthly
Based on medieval popularity of witchcraft in France and the history of the plague, Womersley weaves a haunting tale of the drastic lengths people will go to achieve their deepest desires.
— Publishers Weekly
Written at a cracking pace... City of Crows is another beautifully written book from a master storyteller
— Australian Book Review
A harrowing adventure and an enchanted exploration of the seductive worlds of faith, hope, love, lust and longing.
— Adelaide Advertiser
Inspired by real people and historical incidents, City of Crows is a novel of rare craftsmanship, with an enthralling plot, empathetic characters, a fascinating setting – in terms of both time and place – and the darkly dramatic appeal of the occult and the supernatural.
— Good Reading magazine
The characters are flawed and human. Womersley is an astute observer of human nature; his dialogue is sharp; his prose sings. His seventeenth-century Paris is a stinking cesspool of debauchery: Hieronymus Bosch in literary form. This book is fabulous.
— Readings Books
This grim but spellbinding book is a danse macabre to the tune of Womersley’s incantatory prose. ... Worth reading for the writing alone
— Kirkus Reviews
A brilliantly compelling read
— Australian Women's Weekly Magazine
A gothic masterpiece
— Better Read Than Dead
Rooted in historical fact this is a novel that entrances you, bewitches you and keeps you thoroughly enthralled
— Pages and Pages Bookstore