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Berkley Books

Island Witch by Amanda Jayatissa (Hardcover)

Island Witch by Amanda Jayatissa (Hardcover)

Regular price $28.00 USD
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Fiction - Thrillers - Supernatural - Horror - Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends and Mythology


Set in 19th century Sri Lanka and inspired by local folklore, the daughter of a traditional demon-priest—relentlessly bullied by peers and accused of witchcraft herself—tries to solve the mysterious attacks that have been terrorizing her coastal village.

Being the daughter of the village Capuwa, or demon-priest, Amara is used to keeping mostly to herself. Influenced by the new religious practices brought in by the British Colonizers, the villagers who once respected her father’s craft have turned on the family. Yet, they all still seem to call on him whenever supernatural disturbances arise.

Now someone—or something—is viciously seizing upon men in the jungle. But instead of enlisting Amara’s father’s help, the villages have accused him of carrying out the attacks himself.

As she tries to clear her father’s name, Amara finds herself haunted by dreams that eerily predict the dark forces on her island. And she can’t shake the feeling that it’s all connected to the night she was recovering from a strange illness, and woke up, scared and confused, to hear her mother’s frantic cries: No one can find out what happened.


Amanda Jayatissa grew up in Sri Lanka, completed her undergrad at Mills College in California, and lived in the UK before moving back to her sunny little island. She works as a corporate trainer, owns a chain of cookie stores, and is a proud dog mum to her two spoiled huskies.

"Every once in a while, a book comes along that drops you into another world and takes you places you never could imagine. This is that book. An astounding accomplishment!"
R. L. Stine, author of Goosebumps and Fear Street

“Tense and twisty, Island Witch is a fierce exploration of a young woman’s rage and two kinds of demons: the ones that thrive in the darkness of the jungle, yes, but also those that lurk under the skin of people you thought you could trust. This is razor-sharp anticolonial historical horror with the heart of a thriller, and it kept me feverishly turning the pages long into the night.”
Isabel Cañas, USA Today bestselling author of Vampires of El Norte

"Raw, brutal, and beautiful, Jayatissa pulls no punches in Island Witch, both a devastating historical retelling of a reviled demoness from Sri Lankan lore and a thrilling murder mystery. In this haunting, rage-filled story, Jayatissa gives voice to feared women, women at the margins, women for whom villainy is the closest thing to justice. A stunning achievement."
Ashley Winstead, author of Midnight is the Darkest Hour

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