A primal human fear is being in a dark, cramped space, unable to move, with no means of escape. This novel, based on a true story, takes readers into just such a nightmare. In 1650 Oxford, England, a young woman named Anne Green, a servant in the household of Sir Thomas Reade, was convicted of murdering her stillborn child and was hanged. She did not die, but gradually regained consciousness in her coffin while men from the medical college prepared for her dissection. Anne’s narrative reconstructs the events that have brought her to her present condition. In alternate chapters, the events of the impending dissection are told by Robert Matthews, a young medical student afflicted with stuttering. He sees the first faint eye movement but is unable to articulate his concerns.
Hooper has created two distinct, authentic voices that flow in parallel stories, building to new awakenings and knowledge. Anne’s strong, passionate account reveals life in the mid-seventeenth century, contrasting her position as a servant to that of the elite Reade family... A well-researched, riveting read, with an author’s note explaining how Anne could survive being hanged and an extensive bibliography.