The Western Wind

The Western Wind



15th century Oakham, in Somerset; a tiny village cut off by a big river with no bridge. When a man is swept away by the river in the early hours of Shrove Saturday, an explanation has to be found: accident, suicide or murder? The village priest, John Reve, is privy to many secrets in his role as confessor. But will he be able to unravel what happened to the victim, Thomas Newman, the wealthiest, most capable and industrious man in the village? And what will happen if he can’t?

Moving back in time towards the moment of Thomas Newman’s death, the story is related by Reve – an extraordinary creation, a patient shepherd to his wayward flock, and a man with secrets of his own to keep. Through his eyes, and his indelible voice, Harvey creates a medieval world entirely tangible in its immediacy.


  • My Ancient Mariner novel, the book I’m destined to traipse around fervently pressing into people’s hands . . . [The Western Wind is a] breathtaking exploration of guilt, communal and individual, secrecy and power . . . It made me gasp, and when I’d finished it, I started it again.
    Alex Clark, Times Literary Supplement **Books of the Year 2018**

About the author

Samantha Harvey

Samantha Harvey is the author of the novels The Wilderness, All is Song, Dear Thief and The Western Wind and a work of non-fiction, The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping. Her work has been longlisted for the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award, the Women's Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the Walter Scott Prize. The Wilderness was awarded the Betty Trask Prize. She is a tutor on the MA course in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
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