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The Last Hours

(Black Death #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  3,305 ratings  ·  674 reviews
When the Black Death enters England through the port in Dorsetshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is—or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness.

But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarit
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by MIRA (first published November 2nd 2017)
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Annelies According to NetGalley "The Turn of Midnight" will be published on October 4th 2018.
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,305 ratings  ·  674 reviews

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Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the year 1348, and the little port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire will become known as the place where the sickness 'The Black Death' began.

No one knows the reason for this sickness, how and why it spread so quickly or why it killed so many. The church is happy to preach that God is the reason behind it - that it's a punishment for sins and wickedness.

Lady Anne of Develish thinks differently, she is something of a rare female in this period in history, in that she is well educated, astute, and
Diane S ☔
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the past, Walters has written some chilling and intense thrillers, but it has been ten years since her last full length published novel. In this one she turns her extensive talent to a well researched historical. There is still a suspicious death, in fact there are many deaths as this book tackles the horrifying and world altering, Black Death.

The year is 1348, and Sir Richard is traveling to another demense in order to negotiate a marriage for his daughter. He will never return home, nnor wi
Miriam Smith
I've been a follower of Minette Walters' books for some time now and constantly enjoyed reading her many entertaining and intriguing novels. She has a unique writing style and I always loved how she incorporated newspaper/media articles into her many stories. Therefore I was very excited to hear she had written an historical fiction novel, as this has been a genre I've been more and more enjoying of late.
Sadly, I was quite disappointed in 'The Last Hours' and ended up skipping some pages in ord
Kylie D
A wonderful book, set in the small demesne of Develish in England during 1348. Sir Richard has left to offer a dowry for his daughter to another lord, but is unable to make it back home before his entourage is struck down by the Black Plague. Only one of his party survives. Back in Develish Sir Richard's widow Lady Anne takes charge, with the able help of Thaddeus and the elder serfs. But how to keep the plague from Develish, when they don't know what causes it? And what are they to do when they ...more
4.5 ever engrossing stars

The Black Death was a devastating global epidemic of bubonic plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s. Estimates vary, but the Black Death may have killed one-half of Europe's population, and about 100 million people worldwide.

If you love the blend of history with characters of long ago, this book will certainly be one you will be wanting to delve into. The black death, a killer disease, spread through and carried by fleas on rats was the background of this t
Minette Walters enters new territory with this beautifully written, atmospheric, and historically detailed look at a community in the medieval era, a tragic period that devastated European populations in 1348 with the arrival of the Black Death through a Dorset port. The plague is no respecter of social distinctions and class, as it hits everyone alike as it moves swiftly in its rampage across the country, leaving enormous numbers of dead in its wake. The church puts out that God is behind this ...more
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My friends, I want to tell you about this book. Minette Walters is one of my favorite crime fiction authors, and I was psyched when I found out that she was writing a work of historical fiction. The length is intimidating - it's a whopping 547 pages - but please don't let this keep you from reading this wondrous tome. It's everything I love in fiction, and the pages just flew by. I tore through it in two days and one of those days was a wor
"All has been looted, betrayed, sold; Black Death's wing flashed ahead. (Anna Akhmatova)

A plague, beyond all human proportions of the imagination, seeped into the lives of all in 1348. Death knows no social standings, no rankings. It snuffs out the life of one who wears the weight of the crown as well as those who palm the rake of the fields. A devilish betrayer of the pure or the wicked of heart.

Lady Anne of Develish in Dorsetshire has bid farewell to her husband Sir Richard. Sir Richard and hi
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To begin with, I woud like to thank HARLEQUIN - MIRA (US and Canada) and Netgalley for allowing me to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
I wanted to read this book since I have read several non-fiction books on the Black Death. I was curious how this topic could be dealt with in a novel. The Author did an exeptionally thorough research into the pestilence which arrived in England in 1348. In fact, what prompted her to write this particular novel was the very fact that she lives in
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
I have read quite a few books by Minette Walters, all of them dark, disturbing crime novels. I would rate her as one of my favourite crime writers and now she suddenly turns to Historical Fiction! But that's okay too because I like HF and Walters is a talented writer. She could probably write anything she chose.

The Last Hours is unquestionably a good book. The period in England surrounding the Black Death is always interesting (try Doomsday Book by Connie Willis) and Walters wrings it for every
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A Black Death has fallen upon our land…”

I have never read anything by Minette Walters before, but am aware she is best known for writing crime novels. As such, this is something of a change for her, being historical fiction. In fact, in a way, this is almost a modern dystopian novel, set in the historical setting of 1348 amidst the sweeping plague of the Black Death.

It is set around the household of Sir Richard of Develish, who, when we meet him, is preparing to travel to visit Bradmayne in Do
June 1348, and Sir Richard and his entourage were away from their home of Develish when the Black Death struck – thought to be brought to England’s shores by sailors, it was an enemy no one knew how to combat. But Sir Richard’s wife, Lady Anne, had her own thoughts – reared by nuns, she knew to isolate the sick from the well, and she set to close their community off to anyone travelling past; even her own husband and his men were stopped from entering.

The moat enclosed the manor house with both
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
2.5✰ - very weak, pallid stars.

From my status updates;

February 10, 2018 – page 76
13.89% "Love the cover& good beginning, but it is starting to feel like a 21st century woman has been transplanted into 14th century England. Walter's writing style is very readable though, so let's see how I get on! :)"
February 11, 2018 – page 166
30.35% "Really flat characters - you are a good guy or a bad guy, there is no in between."
February 15, 2018 – page 316
57.77% "The story now is quite good, but th
Oct 30, 2017 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I am starting and flinging away books like a crazy person right now. Millennial pop culture memoir - gone. Giant doorstopper about the Black Death, closed with a hefty sigh and frown. Has my reading radar gone on the fritz ? am I trying too hard to take a break from capital L literary fiction ? I don't know whatever it is, its not working out !

This should have been good, I did really want to read a kind of medieval dystopia with boils but historical fiction is a dicey proposition and this one ha
Rachel Hall
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Hours served as both my introduction to the writing of Minette Walters and to the genre of historical fiction. As a reader of crime thrillers I was drawn by virtue of the authors reputation and that the novel is essentially a character driven examination of the new beginnings that the Black Death heralded for many. The pestilence did much more than simply claim the lives of swathes of men; it also created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals. None was more important than ...more
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In The Last Hours we find ourselves in the village of Melcombe, Dorset 1348. The Black Death has taken Britain, and all - old or young, rich or poor, are subject to its whim. Many believe it is a curse sent from God, but Lady Anne has other ideas. Raised by nuns, she has the foresight that could save her household - by barring the door to the sick and isolating them from everyone else. But how long can the survivors stay isolated wh
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Year 1348...The black death spreads over England.

In the countryside, there lives an extraordinary women for the time being: Lady Anne Develish. She has a useless husband, and a very up-in-the-air young daughter. the whole responsibility of the well being of the estate and her people falls on Lady Anne's shoulders. In the mission to survive, she will befriend a slave called Thaddeus Thurkell...

Lady Anne's uncommon decisions and actions will soon have consequences.

I really enjoyed reading this b
I selected this book based on an online recommendation. The cover and description were appealing, so I decided to give it a shot. The author is new to me, but the era of history is not. Fourteenth century history does, however, seem to be unfamiliar to the author.

Very little of the attitudes, speech, and beliefs of the characters in this book felt 14th century to me. Besides being flat, one-dimensional characters, many of them sounded like modern people thrown into a novel about the plague. Fait
Lady Anne of Develish is a truly modern woman. She is basically an atheist in 14th Century England. If she was a Christian she would be a saint for the miracle of saving her entire village from the black death. She has introduced modern hygiene and even managed to invent the morning after pill so women can have control of their own reproductive rights.

But proper 14th Century bad guys abound and together with her band of plucky serfs she must defeat them and save her people.

If you like The A-Te
Well researched book set in the time of the Black Death of 1348 - it’s victims and survivors. This focuses more on the social shift, where peasants who survive begin to have more bargaining power as so many people die - a time where social status could change quite dramatically. I’ve read many stories set during this snapshot of British history and this one is pretty much on par.

I felt the pace was quite slow in places, not too much of a story line beyond the Black Death and the character portra
Sonja Arlow
When the Black Death enters England in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. Religious fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness.

The story plays off in the small town of Develish where some of the first victims include Lord Richard when he visited a nearby estate to arrange a marriage for his 14-year old daughter.

His estate is left vulnerable, so his wife Lady Anne takes the bold decision
Well, this was disappointing.

My copy of this novel had the phrase ‘compelling and suspenseful’ included in the blurb, but sadly, I found this to be anything but.

The premise of ‘The Last Hours’ surrounds a small community of souls trying to survive through the deadly epidemic of the Black Plague in the 14th century. Given the 500+ page length, that screams ‘character-driven-novel’, but this is where my problem arises.

The characters are flat, two-dimensional, and, if I’m honest, just not that inte
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I waited an entire day to ponder this review. Trying to think of a reason to give it the 3rd star. I failed.

This is a series, I'd guess from the ending here. But even if I had known that it would not have made a difference. Not in my decision to read it, continue it or to develop interest or joy in the reading.

First of all- it is far more some type of fantasy alternative history than it is any sense or measure of an historical fiction work. But that's just a side issue and really doesn't mesh wi
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Minette Walters is an international bestselling author of crime fiction. Walters has sold over 25 million of her books across the globe and several of her books have been adapted into television serials. After a break from the constant circle of publishing crime novel after crime novel, Walters has turned her hand to historical fiction with a distinct medieval flavour. Set in 1348, The Last Hours provides a fascinating account of the Black Death in the Dorse
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Hours is the eighteenth novel by British author, Minette Walters, and is a departure from her usual genre of crime/psychological thriller: this one is historical fiction. It’s June 1348, and the Plague has just arrived in England. The population is completely unprepared for the devastation this disease will wreak, but a scant few demesnes are better equipped to handle it than most. A Saxon, Lady Anne of Develish in Dorsetshire was raised by nuns; she has been quietly running the demesne ...more
Darkly wonderful.

The first outbreaks of the Black Death in Dorset. There is crime and secrets and lies, but this is counterbalanced by great kindness and cooperation and thought. You wouldn't think it could be a hopeful kind of book, but even as the plague strikes so swiftly with such high mortality, it does free up all the wealth and power that was gathered into so few hands.

Now I just have to wait for the story to be continued.

It's situations like this that make me reluctant to start a series until it's all wr
MaryannC.Book Fiend
This was a riveting and engrossing read for me. The Black Death has come to Dorsetshire in the Summer of 1348 and Lady Anne of Develish is trying to help the people of her demesne survive after most of the surrounding countryside has succumbed to the horrible outbreak. The book begins with her husband Richard, a boorish, unsympathetic man who rules his wife and serfs with an iron hand as he travels to a nearby estate to secure his daughter Eleanor's marriage. As word of the pestilence begins app ...more
I won an uncorrected proof copy of this from a giveway on Goodreads by publisher Allen & Unwin.

I don't usually associate Minette Walters with historical fiction, but after reading this, I want her to write more.

"The Last Hours" tells the story of a moated manor in Dorsetshire as the Black Death of 1348 sweeps through. It is a book that, because of its limited scope for changing scenes, relies heavily on its characters. And they are excellent characters. Well rounded, interesting, and very, v
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Hours by Minette Walters takes near the port in Dorsetshire in June 1348 where it is believed the Black Death (plague) entered England.  With her husband away, Lady Anne of Develish along with her serfs take drastic measures to ensure their safety. Isolation, discord and danger made for a clever tale.

Imagine if you would a dark mysterious plague coming to your door. It doesn't discriminate and none survive. Throughout Dorsetshire whole communities are fall to the disease. Thanks to her
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Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for tel

Other books in the series

Black Death (2 books)
  • The Turn of Midnight (Black Death, #2)
“arms. Had he not believed it necessary” 0 likes
“It will be as if we never existed if our history cannot be read.” 0 likes
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