The no. #1 Sunday Times bestseller, British Book Awards Book of the Year, Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2017, Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, The Waterstones Book of the Year 2016, and Shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award . . . The Essex Serpent is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take . . . There are rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, recently widowed, and a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours. Later on, Will and Cora...find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both.