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John Crow’s Devil

From the Man Booker prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

Marlon James

The debut novel of the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2015

Jamaica, 1957

On a day beginning with a bad omen – black vultures, known locally as John Crows, crash through the local church windows – a handsome and charismatic stranger drags the village preacher from his pulpit and takes over both church and congregation. Promising vengeance and damnation, he wastes no time delivering both, and in doing so starts a power struggle that sets the village of Gibbeah on a path to destruction.  

With language as taut as classic works by Cormac McCarthy, and a richness reminiscent of early Toni Morrison, John Crow’s Devil is a terrifying and moving novel about religious mania, redemption, sexual obsession and the eternal struggle between the righteous and the wicked.

  • Publication date: September 10, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781780748498
  • RRP: £8.99
  • Pages: 240
  • Publication date: September 10, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781780748504
  • RRP: £4.99
  • Pages: 240


'Feels contemporary and necessary, exploring how religion can be used as justification for mankind's deepest urges'.

Press Association

'A relentless excavation of an isolated village in which sex, violence and Jesus form a combustible trinity of catalysts and salves'.

New Statesman

‘Dense, lyrical and richly over the top’.

Sunday Times

'Introduces us to his extraordinary talent...James jumps effortlessly between cut-glass English that would not disgrace Jane Austen, and the ripe, flexible, witty language of his childhood. Superb'.

The Times

'James's slice of Caribbean gothic has terrific power and verve: it's quite a debut'.

Financial Times

'John Crow's Devil is undoubtedly breathtaking for its imagination and its storytelling'.


‘A powerful first novel … Writing  with assurance and control, James  uses his small-town drama to  suggest the larger anguish of a  postcolonial society struggling for its  own identity.’ 

New York Times Book Review

‘A writer whose importance can scarcely be questioned.’



Marlon James

Marlon James was born in Jamaica. He is the author of John Crow’s Devil (Oneworld, 2015), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Book of Night Women (Oneworld, 2009), which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction. His third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld 2014), won the Man Booker Prize in 2015, the American Book Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Fiction Prize, and was a finalist for the International Dublin Literary Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His short fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Esquire and Granta. He is currently the Writer-in-Residence and Associate Professor of English at Macalester College, Minnesota, USA.

Author page

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