The Essex Serpent

  • by Sarah Perry
  • Narrated by Juanita McMahon
  • 14 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

London 1893: When Cora Seaborne and her son Francis reach Essex, rumours spread from further up the estuary that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced that it may be a previously undiscovered species.
As she sets out on its trail she meets William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar. They find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart, eventually changing each other's lives in ways entirely unexpected.


What the Critics Say

"One of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade." (Sunday Times)
"The Essex Serpent is a novel to relish: a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author." (Sarah Waters)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Which character – as performed by Juanita McMahon – was your favorite?

Wil Ransom.

Any additional comments?

This book bursts with colour, creativity, passion, history, intelligence, unique characters, and strong women. Perry is obviously an extremely learned writer, and one who is no less engaging for being so. I am totally flabbergasted at the negative reviews here. This is something bordering on a masterpiece; we don't often see such novels written these days. At its heart is a meditation on faith and reason, which might sound boring, but Perry truly makes it fascinating, seamlessly embedding it within the interactions between characters as she does. If it makes a difference to potential readers, I love both contemporary and classical fiction. I enjoyed the first half, but don't think I was completely hooked until the second. It was definitely worth hanging in there. There are some truly breathtaking passages especially towards the end of the novel. Enjoy!

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- Lucy

Good Story Let Down by Poor Performance

This is a general plea to the producers and narrators of audiobooks: a book is not a screenplay, and reading a book is not an enactment of a play. So why, oh why, must narrators insist on acting out a book? Juanita McMahon has a lovely reading voice: articulate, gentle and almost perfect. But what possesses her to portray every male character as a blustering buffoon or every female one a simpering simpleton, I do not know. It ruins the book. We are not children in need of the acting out of stories (for that I turn to the theatre or to television). We simple want a story beautifully told. I'm only half-way through the book and I am truly interested in the story but I don't think I can carry on. This is the third audio book in a row where I've encountered this problem. So I beg you, fine ladies and gentlemen of audio-land, please stop.
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- Megan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-28-2016
  • Publisher: Lamplight Audio