The Plague Charmer
'If you like dark, atmospheric, historical fantasy, then this is definitely one for you' Daily Mail
The Plague Charmer, by Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages and bestselling author of Company of Liars, will chill and delight fans of C.J. Sansom and Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project in equal measure.
'A dark read ... fear and hysteria are portrayed with clau
Yes, beautiful sentence. It hooked my attention from the start. However, it is said that first impressions are usually deceiving, and in the case of ''The Plague Charmer'' I was deceived and disappointed.
It is hard to write a review about a book that made you feel nothing. All the premises were there, after all. A mystery set in England during the era of the Great Pestilence, a strong heroine, a witch, a clever dwarf (Tyrion seems to have inspired one or two ...more
This is a long and involved novel, with several storylines. One involves Porlock Manor and Sir Nigel’s newly married niece, Christina, ...more
What makes a happy man sad, and a sad man happy? Why, time, of course, for all things pass. Just as the time of happiness passes, so does the time of sadness.
1361 the Great Pestilence returned after a 13 year reprieve. A different strain from the original appears,to which young healthy males were particularly prone, leaving communities of women and the elderly to fend without their menfolk.
Karen Maitland, the undisputed Queen, the Boss, the Bee's Knees of medieval fiction brings us anot ...more
Reason #1: The Atmosphere
Although it's hard to place yourself into the world of the story at first, simply because it's so dark, but still it pulls you in and overwhelms you. At times, it seemed I breathed the smell of the wet seaweed, felt the spray of the waves, sensed the cold gusts of wind. It's so incredibly atmospheric! I believe I have yet to read a novel about the middle ages that has pulled me in s ...more
But we have little use for truth here. Truth is only one story among many.
Many moons ago I read Company of Liars by same author, and really liked it. So I may have gone in with high expectations. And to be fair the story had all the right elements: magical realism, religious fanatics, dwarfs and witches, yet I never felt totally drawn in. It may have been a case of too many characters and too many stories running simultaneously. The ending definitely picked up in pace, and I enjoyed the last 15% ...more
Some of the characters felt a bit more one dimensional than in Maitlands other books but Will the Dwarf was a great character, sort of similar to Tyrion in Game of Thrones, generally shunned but still with a good heart .
The setup was done quite well and I enjoyed the little cheeky take on the creation of folklore through story telling built in to the end.
A brilliantly wrought fantasy--blissfully free of battle scenes--filled with the horrors of "The Great Pestilence," diviners, superstition, myth, charms, holy relics, and a banished court jester.
Will was not born ...more
As the Great Pestilence returns for the second time to this costal village it holds its ailing residents hostage and won’t release them from its grip. That is until they pay the price that has been asked by a mysterious stranger rescued from the churning tide, although they began to regret their good deed almost imme ...more
It was an amazing historical read with quite a few separate story lines that eventually match up for a fantastic ending. The medieval era is brought to life so well and the characters are very well developed so much so that I could vividly imagine them.
Highly recommended for fa ...more
The Plague Charmer may be a ‘dark’ read however Karen Maitland has created colourful and interesting characters.
There are several narrations – from Weir folk Sara and Matilda we have life from the perspective of fisherfolk who need the land to provide for them to live. I loved the contradiction of how a village can pull itself apart but also work in collaboration; in Porlock Manor I was drawn in by the astute Lady Pavia, intriguing Christina, underhanded S ...more
The Plague Charmer is one dark atmospheric story that bubbles and churns with elements of: chilling history, folklore, damaged characters and enduring medical mysteries that all become nearly impossible to look away from or difficult not to gather some bauble of trivia to tuck away long after turning the final page. These types of tales that not only amuse but strangely enlighten the reader about poignant eras of the past are ones I always ho ...more
With Karen Maitland you know what you are going to get, evocative writing which brings the medieval world to life, wonderful, empathetic characters all wrapped up in a bewitching tale.
It is hard to believe the brutality of life, the hardships and poverty endured by
the pe ...more
maitland brings the black death to live in this novel with people's beliefs shrouded in myth as the black death didn't care for class or wealth. this novel is based in somerset and like how the characters are inter linked in their misery and finding a way out but over shadowed by church and beliefs.
"First, you take a lusty infant - they must be strong to survive the moulding - and fit with an iron frame over its baby head and face. One of the iron bars with hooks on either end goes in that little toothless mouth to stretch the lips into a permanent wide grin. Dwarves are supposed to look cheerful, and it spares us the effort of having to fix our mouths into a grin in company. It wouldn't do for that smile to slip, now, would it?...more
"The other iron bars of the bridle flatten the baby's button
Would have liked to give three & a half stars rather than four as it wasn’t a novel that I’d read again, but if you’re simply after a good read, this is worth a look.
The Plague Charmer is a fascinating medieval tale full of atmosphere and superstition. It’s a long but an unputdownable book, bringing the medieval world to life in all its brutality and hardship. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book is set in Porlock Weir in 1361 where a village is isolated by the plague when the Black Death spreads once more across England. Following an eclipse of the sun, as a storm rages along the coast, a ship is blown ashore bringing a da ...more
The year is 1361 and the sun has disappeared. The residents of tiny Porlock Weir can only watch in horror as the sun is swallowed up by a black disc, turning the afternoon sunshine into night. When the sun reappears a few minutes later, they are hardly comforted: this can only be a bad omen. That night, a storm rages along the coast, wrecking a ship upon the rocks outside the village. A sole survivor is pulled from the sea ...more
The Plague Charmer, I actually grabbed this book because I was intrigued by the cover. Yes, I choose books by their covers.
I would probably not have read it by the blurb. Historical Fiction and Fantasy is not really what I go for in books. So, I am glad I choose it because of it’s cover.
The time I travelled to is 1361 and the start of the book gave a detailed description how dwarfs are created to be sold and serve the more weal ...more
It is set in Porlock Weir, an area of Exmoor and features several people. Will, a ‘manmade dwarf’, Sara, a wife and mother and Matilda, otherwise known as the ‘Holy Hag’ are the main characters. When the village is cursed by Janiveer a woman who was rescued from the sea and the plague decimates the village population all three are affected. They all survive ...more
Karen Maitland has recently moved to the wonderful county of Devon and has a doctorate in psycholinguists. She is fascinated by the myth and magic of the Middle Ages, which she draws on for her novels. She experienced the medieval lifestyle for real, when she worked for eighteen months in a rural village in Nigeria, living without electricity, plumbing or sanitation.
Her first medieval thriller wa ...more