We have all said it. At the very least, thought it. “I would sell my soul for….”. But would you? Really?
It’s the year 1590. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Murray hangs in her cell, inching closer to death. She listens to the excruciating screams of women outside, their flesh fueling the fire that roars intensely around the stake to which they are bound. Lizzy knows it will be her turn soon. Her crime? She bears the mark of a witch.
I am strung up in that freezing cell. Shackled to the wall and strapped into a witch’s bridle – the metal prings jabbing into my cheeks and the spiked iron bit tearing welts into my tongue
As she contemplates the inevitability of her death, Lizzy receives a visit. A man (the devil) with an offer she can’t refuse. Her soul in return for a painless death and immortality. Lizzy will walk the earth for 500 years as Death itself easing the passing of all who die. A lonely and solemn existence. But even Death can fall in love and when she does, Lizzy is presented with yet another devilish proposition. She can be released from the eternal terms of her deal if she gives 5 lives in return. Each one to be taken at her own hand.
When I read the synopsis of this The Life of Death the idea of a devil, witches burning at the stake and the dark undertakings of Death really hooked me in. The story is dark and visceral and the plot is clever and interesting. What I wasn’t prepared for however was the poignancy it provoked, in a way, made more intense by knowing that the author herself battled her own very real encounter with death having been diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and passing away in 2016.
There is an underlying tone to The Life of Death that is compelling in a very real and human way. What is life? Isn’t death just part of life and is immortality really what we would seek as human beings if it means the sacrifice of love and the human connection that makes life worthwhile? You could read this book and simply enjoy it as a good old gothic tale of witchcraft and the works of the devil. But my advice is that you embrace the profound observations about love and mortality that make this book stand out from others of its kind. The Life of Death is horrific and touching in one. Just like life itself. A 5-star rating comes easy for this one.
About the author
Lucy Booth was born in Suffolk, moved with her family to Solihull, Cyprus and Lymm, Cheshire where she attended Manchester High School for Girls before studying Behavioural Sciences at Nottingham University. On graduating Lucy moved to London to pursue her career as a freelance producer for various top of the range adverts & music videos.
In 2011 Lucy was diagnosed with breast cancer resulting in surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Undaunted, and with the great assistance of her friends, Lucy not only continued working and writing her blog (lucifersboob.blogspot.co.uk) of her ‘cancer experience’ in a typically forthright and humorous fashion but felt the urge to write a novel. The Life of Death is the result.
In 2014 the aggressive cancer returned. However, Lucy was determined to live her life to the full and to finish her novel before she died in August 2016.