Begoņa Echeverria

The Hammer of Witches

 Presentation Abstract


In 1610, a small Basque town is convulsed by accusations of witchcraft. Based on historical events, The Hammer of Witches fictionally recreates the incredible story of the Basque Witch persecution in which six Basques from the village of Zugarramurdi, Nafarroa were burned at the stake. Begoņa Echeverria, PhD, casts a spell over the reader through a triangle of stories: courageous and inquisitive Maria, a girl determined to honor her mother’s memory by learning to read and improving her lot in life; the parish priest Salvador Zabaleta, who has sworn to protect Maria, but whose own identity is beset by struggles; and the mysterious and sophisticated exile Sabine Elizalde. As Maria is drawn into their lives and into a series of macabre events, she learns about the depths of her own courage. Drawing a nuanced, detailed, rich portrait of early modern Basque society to tell a gripping story of love, betrayal, and sacrifice in a world turned upside down, The Hammer of Witches delves into the dark places of the human spirit and shows that even in the face of tremendous evil, justice can prevail.