Helen, living in self-imposed exile in Prague, is visited by a friend who brings with her an old manuscript, speaking of Melmoth the Witness, a lost, lonely soul forced to wander the earth for all existence. After her friend disappears, Helen begins to feel the eyes of the Witness on her everywhere she goes. This magnificent Gothic novel sunk its talons into me from the very first page and led me, shivering and mesmerised, to its haunting end.
- Recommended by Lauren Creed, Dubray Rathmines
Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But the sheltered life she has crafted for herself is about to change.
A strange manuscript has come into her possession, and its contents have the power to unravel every strand of her fragile safety net. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her.
Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they've done, or be led into the darkness. Despite her scepticism, Helen can't stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone or something is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take.
Exquisitely written, and gripping until the very last page, this is a masterpiece of moral complexity, asking us profound questions about mercy, redemption, and how to make the best of our conflicted world.