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A Plague of Heretics (Crowner John Mystery #14)
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A Plague of Heretics (Crowner John Mystery #14)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  220 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
With the city of Exeter ravaged by an outbreak of the 'yellow plague', Sir John de Wolfe, the county coroner, must divide his time between visiting his brother Willam who has been struck down by the disease, and dealing with a series of brutal murders which appears to be linked to a revival of heresy in the city. When some of the cathedral canons begin a crusade against th ...more
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2010)
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May 22, 2011 Ainslie rated it liked it
Shelves: historical-crime
I haven't read books 12 & 13 in this series, but I will still do so.



An upsurge in the persecution of heretics by the general populace of Exeter, which is fuelled by assorted church fanatics and Crowner John's new neighbour, forms the basis of the plot for this novel, alongside a plague to which some of Crowner John's nearest and dearest fall victim.

This is a series I am very fond of generally, but I'm afraid in this
Tomgirl deni
Feb 12, 2017 Tomgirl deni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely love this series, unfortunately there aren't too many titles still available in the library. (This one written in 2010)
The characters are all three dimensional and have a well documented history behind them, the plots are always good ones, although I did guess the culprit this time! The atmosphere of medieval Exeter is excellently portrayed and all in all a good read.
May 24, 2017 Susan rated it it was ok
He knows his history but he's not much on plot. Or characters. It's a good way to learn something about medieval life, religion, politics and religious politics but a page turner it's not.
Jun 01, 2011 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first medieval mystery I have read by Bernard Knight. I have to admit to being very squeamish about the persecution of the so-called heretics, by the Catholic Church at the time of the story, 1195. Hard to believe, since my mystery fare usually involves serial killers. But the picture of the church elders offering money to anyone seeking out those neighbors who believed that intersession by a priest was not needed, for them to be able to communicate with God, with the idea of trying ...more
May 18, 2015 Kathy rated it liked it
This was perhaps the final book in the Sir John the Crowner series? It's the final book I intend to read as I gave the author/series a fair chance to beguile me by reading three of the books. This one gets 3 stars from me (more than the other two) because the topic of "heresy" during this time period interests me. The writing was better in this book but was still not consistent, start to finish. I am shocked that I did not abandon the book after reading this on page 12: "The Cornishman scratched ...more
John Lee
Mar 04, 2011 John Lee rated it really liked it
This is currently the latest book in the series and again a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The detail of the food eaten at each meal could easily have been over the top but it isnt. It adds to the fascinating picture that builds up of life in the city at the time. Brilliant research.
We live close to Exeter and suspect that some of the older churches in the city are on the site of those in the story. Although this is a work of fiction, I can well imagine that on our next trip to the city, we could go
Mar 11, 2015 Spuddie rated it really liked it
The fourteenth and final (I believe--except for a prequel to the series that was published after this one) Crowner John mystery, set in medieval Devon. A plague of the mysterious yellow fever has swept through coastal Devon, killing many who are afflicted.

As tensions run high as people worry over the physical plague, the Church begins to put its foot down to stamp out what it sees as a spiritual plague of heresy. Three separate murders of known heretics has the coroner on high alert as he wonde
What can I say ... I love this series. The author doesn't romanticize this time period, it's smelly, violent and unless you are wealthy, living conditions are just plain nasty. Your knight in shining armor usually comes with fleas, head lice and probably hasn't fully bathed in a couple of years. Against this realistic background, Bernard Knight has developed not only great characters, but good storylines. Some books were better then others, but I found each was written well enough to pull me in ...more
Aug 10, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Entertaining story of murder and plague in 12th century Exeter. I loved the setting and was impressed by the history, but the writing was pedestrian at best. The protagonist has a problem keeping his temper - and when he was described as "usually phlegmatic" I couldn't help laughing. I guessed the murderer about one-third of the way through.
Blair Hodgkinson
Oct 23, 2014 Blair Hodgkinson rated it liked it
The last of the Crowner John mysteries comes to a bit of a rushed end after a slow start. If Knight were less repetitive, these books would be shorter, but the mysteries are generally satisfying and reasonably plausible. As a forensic expert, he brings a special value to the medieval coroner's investigations.
Jan 05, 2017 Billie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Story

Good story. Could I have been fifty pages shorter. Just like the others who enjoy the series, the story updates are too frequent and too long.
Would like to learn more about Nesta, Thomas ,Gwenn, and others.

Jan 18, 2011 Susan rated it it was amazing
A Fitting Climax to this Medieval Historical Coroner Series complete with happy ending & all loose ends tied up. A lot of the characters actually existed he's given them all a new lease of life.
Excellent series.
Nov 15, 2011 Stephanie rated it liked it
Probably my least favorite of this series, but many important things happen to the characters since Mr. Knight assumed this would be his last book in the series. There will be one more published, so it will be interesting to see if that one is better.
Lynne Byrne
Jun 28, 2011 Lynne Byrne rated it it was ok
I would have enjoyed this much more if I hadnt worked out 'whodunnit' half way through the book :(
Good historical fiction.
Feb 16, 2015 C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The coroner's determined belief in law and order made a great story as usual. We also see the difficult living conditions in this century not to mention dealing with plague.
Jul 27, 2015 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great finish for a series.. snif snif.. Wishing it was not done but glad I skipped over 5 books which I can now read.
Jan 14, 2016 Grace-Elisa rated it really liked it
I will miss you, John de Wolf.
May 15, 2013 Margareth8537 rated it liked it
Didn't think this was up to the normal very high standard of Bernard Knight
Mary rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2010
Maureen Kenchington
Maureen Kenchington rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2017
Donna Anoskey
Donna Anoskey rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2015
Doug rated it liked it
Jan 16, 2011
Gail O'Brien
Gail O'Brien rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2015
Tristan rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2011
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Aug 16, 2012
Paul rated it it was amazing
Nov 30, 2012
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Jan 16, 2015
Barbara rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2012
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Aka Bernard Picton.

Professor Bernard Knight, CBE, (born 1931) became a Home Office pathologist in 1965 and was appointed Professor of Forensic Pathology, University of Wales College of Medicine, in 1980. He has been writing since before 1963, when his first crime novel was published. Since then, he has written about thirty books, including contemporary crime fiction, historical novels about Wales,
More about Bernard Knight...

Other Books in the Series

Crowner John Mystery (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Sanctuary Seeker (Crowner John Mystery #1)
  • The Poisoned Chalice (Crowner John Mystery #2)
  • Crowner's Quest (Crowner John Mystery #3)
  • The Awful Secret (Crowner John Mystery #4)
  • The Tinner's Corpse (Crowner John Mystery #5)
  • The Grim Reaper (Crowner John Mystery #6)
  • Fear in the Forest (Crowner John Mystery #7)
  • The Witch Hunter (Crowner John Mystery #8)
  • Figure of Hate (Crowner John Mystery #9)
  • The Elixir of Death (Crowner John Mystery #10)

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