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The Devil's Diadem

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  688 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
In a world gone mad, is the Devil′s word the only one you can trust?

A foolish monk stole the devil′s favourite diadem and the devil wants it back.

It is mid-twelfth century Europe and Maeb Langtofte joins an aristocratic household to attend Adelie, the wife of the Earl of Pengraic. The earl is a powerful Lord of the Marches, the dark Welsh borderlands.

Then a plague that has
Paperback, 544 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Harper Collins (first published 2011)
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Ranting Dragon
Aug 01, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it
Shelves: michelle

The Devil’s Diadem, the latest offering by popular Australian author and historian Sara Douglass, is a stand-alone historical fantasy set in mid-twelfth century England. Douglass has described The Devil’s Diadem as “everything she always wanted to put in a fantasy novel but never did”. She has also stated that it could quite possibly be her last ever book. If this is indeed the case, many fans will be eager to know whether it is a worthy farewell from such
The Devil’s Diadem, a brand new standalone novel by Australian author Sara Douglass, is set in a realistic but fictional version of early 12th century England. The Norman invasion is still recent history, French is the prevalent courtly language, and the Marcher Lords are powerful nobles who guard the border territory between England and Wales. Maeb Langtofte, an attractive young noblewoman whose family has recently fallen on hard times, is lucky enough to find a position as lady-in-waiting to t ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Bondama rated it really liked it
I was taken completely by surprise with this book - I picked it up at the Library, looking for something light to read - and having majored in medieval history in school, have always loved books set in the 11th, 12th or 13th century. This book is extremely well written, and the excitement within these pages is absolutely paced brilliantly.

I'd class this as a YA book, simply because in my opinion, young women needing a sense of worth need to know how it was with women in the Middle Ages. After he
Karen Brooks
Apr 22, 2011 Karen Brooks rated it it was amazing
Yet again, Goodreads swallowed my review... so I have to rewrite it. In this case, I don't mind so much as this is a book that I did not want to finish and which, hours later, still lingers in my heart and head.

Douglass' latest book, a historical fantasy set in mid Twelfth Century England is a beautifully woven, intricately plotted tale of love, loss, familial relationships, courtly politics, religion and faith. Powerful, moving and surprising, it unfurls slowly, almost languidly, steeping the r
May 23, 2012 Skyemberr rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book, and a very personal book. The author wrote this as she was dying and much of the very end portion was consolation for grieving friends, and for herself. It was intensely personal for her to write that part of the book, and part of it was read as part of her memorial service, with friends around the wold reading the passages indicated while sipping bubbly and lighting candles as her ashes were scattered.
The Devil's Diadem is a stand-alone novel by the late Sara Douglass, author of the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy. It takes us to an alternate medieval Europe, around the 12th century. Contrary to the history books, this Europe lies on the brink of demonic disaster.

I picked this up on a whim. I have not read any Sara Douglass, although her trilogies are on my to-read list, but I thought a stand-alone novel might be a good place to start. This was, I think, a bad choice, but I'll get into that in a
Dark Matter
May 10, 2012 Dark Matter rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Maeb Langtofte is a young woman living in the time of King Edmond, father to the notorious brothers and future kings Richard and John. After the death of her father, Maeb had two choices: enter a nunnery or go into service in a noble household. Maeb’s connections enabled her to join the household of the Earl of Pengraic, serving the Lady Adelie. The Pengraic household flees a plague shortly after Maeb joins them, moving to the seat of Pengraic in Wessex, where the plague catches up. On the journ ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
A longer more detailed version of this review is availiable at The Ranting Dragon

‘The Devil’s Diadem’, by popular Australian author and historian, Sara Douglass, is a historical fantasy novel set in an alternate mid-twelfth century England. The narrative primarily focuses on the experiences of the protagonist, Maeb Langtofte, a young woman of minor nobility who is sent to serve in the household of the powerful Earl of Pengraic. Soon after settling into her new duties, it becomes evident to Maeb
Kathy Davie
Aug 30, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing
The Story
Mistress Maeb Langtofte falls in love the moment she sees Stephen de Mortaigne. A golden boy of 19 or 20 who immediately flirts with Maeb until his father, the Earl of Pengraic chances upon them, ordering Stephen to the barge and their meeting with the king. Pengraic lingers but only to inform Maeb that her lack of dowry and influence will not net Stephen. That any mishap will result in her being tossed out the door. Old Pengraic does not want her in his household.

Then a plague breaks o
Apr 30, 2013 Siobhan rated it it was amazing
The Devil's Diadem is one of those books that made me realise how short life is.

This book was Sara Douglass's last novel. She died a few months before it was published. Sara was one of my biggest inspirations for writing epic fantasy because of her I wrote my first book when I was sixteen.

I suppose this book reminded me in no uncertain terms that everything comes to an end. You read this book and you know that Sara was dying when she wrote it. You can feel it in the text and it's painful. She kn
Mar 30, 2016 Barb rated it it was amazing
It is a shame that Sara Douglass has died because we will never get to read a new extraordinary book such as The Devils Diadem ever again! She is by far the best author I have ever read. And I own over 700 books, mostly fantasy so I have read many, and this is her best one yet. I recommend buying it so it can be read and re-read. I got it in the mail Friday and had already finished by Saturday night. There aren't many books that inspire emotion in me. This one did.
Rosu Aquabutts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love SD's style. Years ago I read, and loved, both her Axle, and Wayfarer Redemption series. I had forgotten SD amidst other authors/books I have since read, and was delighted to stumble across this novel by happenstance. I will now endeavor to purchase the rest of her works, even though I already have many books on my TBR shelf awaiting my attention, lol.
Star Bookworm
Feb 26, 2014 Star Bookworm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm not sure how to go about this review. I am honestly still in a bit of a state of denial. I read The Wayfarer Redemption (a.k.a. Battleaxe) in 2000. At that point, I was a little behind the publishing curve and was able to read through the entire series in one shot (my preferred method of reading, honestly. Though, I know that doesn't help authors out much statistically). I quickly finished the Battleaxe trilogy then the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy.

After a hiatus of several years, I was in t
Jun 06, 2014 Diana rated it really liked it
Devil's Diadem like some books do slowly became a consoling and honest friend to me. I was impressed that not all events ended happily like many formulated novels do, causing it to be compelling even during slower intervals. I was impressed with its eloquent and thoughtful nature and became more and more tied into the unfolding events.

This book deals with many themes among them mortality as I read I learned more and more about the author. This is my first book with her, but it was her last book.
Jodie Anderson
May 04, 2011 Jodie Anderson rated it really liked it
I did find it a little too bleak. Not enough of those gentle heart warming parts that give you respite from all the hardships. Or those exhilarating moments when you could burst from excitment. I felt quite sad through most of it. I still really enjoyed it.
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
Dec 23, 2012 Lisa - (Aussie Girl) rated it really liked it
Shelves: folk-fantasy
It was certainly bittersweet reading the last novel of brilliant historical fantasy Australian writer Sara Douglass. A lot darker than her previous novels The Devil's Diadem is an imaginative fantasy world of medieval England where a deceased Knight of the Templars had stolen the Devil's favourite crown and hell in the form of a horrific plague has swept England until he gets it back. His unsuspecting daughter Maeb the heroine of the tale is thus caught up in the events a fantasy tale filled wit ...more
Alisa Hedden
Sep 24, 2011 Alisa Hedden rated it really liked it
High Fantasy and (frustratingly) historically accurate.
Don’t look for a female lead that overcomes the historically accurate prejudices of the time. Instead we have a main character that does her best to be true to herself and remain a good person in spite of the horrors that occur around her. She survives plague, political intrigue and war while staying loyal to her morals and her family. Maeb always chooses the moral path even while being used as a cats-paw in a battle between the Devil, the K
Jul 17, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
I quite liked it, the story of it, and the horror of the plague. But I do think that it had a bad habit of praising the "naive innocence" of the main female character, who very rarely had an active role in the things that happened to her. It would have been nice to see her make more choices or active decisions.

That being said, I did finish it in record time, and was intensely curious to find out the nature of the plague and what was happening.
Aug 17, 2012 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
When I first started this book, I wasn't sure I was going to like it or if I'd be willing to read through 500 pages. Fortunately, it was a very slow day at the library and there was nothing else immediately grabbing my attention to read.
I loved reading this book and quickly became emotionally invested in all of the characters and couldn't help wondering how a resolution could happen in such a short time. It did and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, after the slightly slower first few chap
Dec 28, 2015 Patti rated it it was amazing
This book is an emotional roller coaster! Everything is fine and ok and then suddenly events happen and you find yourself doing a 180 with everything you thought was true before. this book does just that SEVERAL TIMES! I LOVED THE WRITING!! it is written as a memoir and the voice in it is enchanting... I would definately recommend this book to anyone who wants to get away from the normal plot line story because even though I have read several books... I couldn't see what was coming next!! I will ...more
Oct 31, 2015 Bookman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book was really odd. It's about a low ranked noblewoman in an alternate England around the year 1200. Maeb (the low ranked noble) becomes an attending woman of a very high ranked noblewoman and the story follows Maeb along this course. It seems like it would be boring because a lot of it is about how the women spend their time stitching and such, but it somehow manages to be interesting and engaging.
Carrie Mudge
Apr 27, 2014 Carrie Mudge rated it really liked it
Picked up at random in the library, and now very glad that I did! A very good read, full of historical detail that is sprinkled with both sulphur and fairy dust. I love a book with a twisty ending, and this surely did. I went from being really sad to very happy at the way things turned out. Any story that can raise emotions is well worth recommending as a read.
Jun 15, 2015 Violet rated it really liked it
A standalone fantasy can be very appealing because the world in the book is complete. The story too is interesting and the author's style is excellent. The characters are engaging. I am only troubled by Maeb's inability to understand the Earl of Pengraic. The reason does not seem sufficient. There should have been some way to tell her his secret and avoid so much heartbreak. But, it ends well. So, it is all good, I suppose.
Sep 02, 2012 Tanya rated it it was amazing
I loved it once I got over the whole fantasy issue. It's set in mid twelfth century England and I kept trying to find the truth in my history books but they just weren't there! No such King, no such plague etc. That's what Fantasy is all about I suppose.

Maeb father dies and she is sent to the Earl of Pengraic as lady's maid to his wife Lady Adelie . She falls a little in love with Stephen, the Earl's son but he's so far above her own station in life it's just impossible. Plague invades England s
Feb 21, 2015 Susie rated it really liked it
One of those books that you can't put down and are sorry to finish....very interesting plot and characters. A fantasy version of 12th century England and the rise of a young woman through the ranks of that society. Demons,secret societies,the church,corrupt court life and possibly a stolen diadem play a part.
Nov 19, 2015 Lena rated it really liked it
Such a good story. Even though I would have liked the h to be stronger and less of a victim you can see her grow up and get some wisdom. I liked that for the most part you can really see past the surface of the main character, especially Rafe. Unexpected and engrossing. I did not expect this story to be so good but Douglas didn't let me down, great author.
Mar 03, 2016 Gabby rated it really liked it
I hadn't heard much about this book before adding it to my list, and I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised!

I really enjoyed this book. It brought old European tales (much older than King Arthur) into the mix, along with some supernatural elements.

While I don't normally like first person perspective, the main character was telling her life's story, and thus this convention worked.

Sara Douglass creates a rich world, and the reader can almost feel like there's so much more to tell, even thoug
Feb 28, 2016 Sandra rated it it was amazing
So good. So good. In the beginning I did get a little frustrated with Maeb's naïveté but she truly does grow with the book and become a woman you can respect. I was confused that the diadem wasn't even mentioned until 300 pages in, but that makes the story so great; you see how everything builds to what the diadem is and represents. All questions and loose ends are tied up well. This book is an emotional roller coaster but everything ends well for everyone you really care for. It has such a swee ...more
Ee Cheng Ooi
Feb 17, 2015 Ee Cheng Ooi rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. I've always loved Sara's books. I was sad to discover in the foreword that she'd died not long ago. Some of her books did not resonate well with me, but this one (like many of her other works) was excellent.
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Douglass was born in Penola, South Australia. She attended Annesley College, in Wayville, a suburb of Adelaide. She studied for her BA while working as a Registered Nurse, and later completed her PhD in early modern English History. She became a lecturer in medieval history at La Trobe University, Bendigo. While there she completed her first novel, BattleAxe, which launched her as a popular fantas ...more
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