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Spoiler Thread: Plague

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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma Flanagan (emma89) This is the Spoiler Thread for Plague by C.C. Humphreys


message 2: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn Thanks Emma. I am really interested to see what others made of Plague. I enjoyed it more than I was expecting to. I know I nominated it but I was wary of how much historical detail would be dumped on me. I loved Pitman and Coke and thought their friendship, while a little too easily forged, was one of the best things about the book. The whole plot was enjoyable and I did not see the twist with Garnthorpe and Abel Strong coming at all. What happened to the real Abel? Killed in the wars?? Some describe the book as gruesome but I didn't find it too bad. The description of John Chalker's torture was graphic but not over the top. All in all I thought this was a great read and would readily recommend the sequel as well


Bookworm with Kids | 566 comments Mod
Trelawn, like you I didn't see that twist coming! It was really well done, in my opinion. As for the torture, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be when I realised who had caught him. It was sad that Pitman lost some of his children to plague, I hoped they all would be OK.


message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul I suppose the author wanted to go for a bit of realism. The chances of all of them surviving would have been small so sugar coating it would be inaccurate.
I would have been heart broken if Dickon didn't make it though.


Bookworm with Kids | 566 comments Mod
Oh, absolutely, Paul, that would have been too cruel! Dickon is referred to during the book as the 'idiot' boy - what does anyone think this means? I have an idea that Dickon might have Down's Syndrome but I'm not sure why I think that. Does anyone else have any other ideas?


message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul I assumed autism of dome degree .


message 7: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn It really could be anything. Coke found him abandoned and often children with little or no stimulation or interaction at a young age have developmental and speech problems. It's not made clear but I think his attachment and loyalty to Coke and vice versa is great. He is a brilliant character.


message 8: by Cphe (last edited Oct 13, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Cphe | 0 comments I had thought that it was Garnthorpe that had murdered Abel and so assumed his identity for his own purposes.

Dickon was IMO one of the better characters in the novel along with Pitman. I liked Pitman, he was a family man.


Bookworm with Kids | 566 comments Mod
Perhaps that is a question we could ask the author - how did he envisage Dickon, did he have autism or something else in mind when he wrote Dickon? I agree that Pitman is a good character in that his family is so important to him. Captain Coke is a good man as well but in a different way. He seems to be quite moral, even though he is a highway man!


message 10: by Cphe (last edited Oct 13, 2016 04:36PM) (new)

Cphe | 0 comments I didn't see Dickon as having autism - he was able to portray his feelings well.

I felt he was mute due to having suffered a trauma at some stage early on in his life. (emotional/mental/physical )

I would not be surprised if at a later stage in the series that he would/could speak. He was an orphan and I felt that fact tied in with his inability to speak,

He was intelligent, and loyal and I felt he saw Coke as a father figure.


message 11: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn @ CPHE I think that's probably a likely reason for Dickon's inability to speak. He has no problem comprehending what Coke or others say and I love his little quirk of constantly looking for nuts.

What are people's thoughts on the Fifth Monarchists? Religious extremism is such a feature of modern life that it's easy to forget that it has existed in one form or another for centuries. Given the upheaval of the previous decade or so, Cromwell, the wars, the restoration followed by the plague... it is easy to see how this could all be interpreted as God's plan and punishment of the wicked. They were violent and uncertain times, people will always look for meaning in chaos. It is mad though how much further violence the Fifth monarchists were willing to engage in for their so called holy mission.


message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul The Fifth Monarchists are certainly a reminder that extreme christianity is as bad or worse than extremism in any other religion. The levels of violence and what the members are willing to go through for their beliefs is extremely worrying but all too believable at the same time


message 13: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 0 comments I felt Dickons love of nuts may have been a dietary deficiency, in that he craved them but I probably viewed it with twentieth century leaning.


message 14: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn I just thought it was cute. At the most random moments he would just ask had anyone got nuts for him.


message 15: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn Actually just thinking of the various characters, I really liked how the king was portrayed. He loved his women while being a reasonably decent family man. He loved the theatre and enjoyed being among the people. This comes through in the second book as well. I like how he tried to hold the noblemen to account on occasion. He made Rochester take the letter from Coke and undertake to visit Lucy. I also loved when he sided against Rochester and sent him to the Tower. Good enough for him :-)


message 16: by Margo (new)

Margo What really surprised me was the tavern at Newgate goal -All that jollity going on in such surroundings!

Pitman was a bit too puritanical for my liking, not to mention his wife! He remindered me a bit of the policeman in Les Mis, all righteous vengance and don't let evidance, or lack thereof, stand in the way. I was really happy to see him start to unbend a bit as Coke started to rub off on him.

I liked Coke. Like all good storybook badboys, he is good at heart and only forced into theft due to his circumstances! I think it will be interesting to see the relationship between him and Pitman, theif and theif-taker, progress (similar to White Collar).

I think my favourite character would be Sarah. She was so determined to have vengeance for her mans murder. Even though their relationship had become distant after the loss of their child, she was passionate about the need to see his tormentor suffer.


message 17: by Emma (new)

Emma Flanagan (emma89) I don't think has either Downs or Autism. His main issue appears to be fits or seizures which is probably affecting both his movements at times and possibly his speech. It may be epilepsy or something in that vein.


message 18: by Emma (new)

Emma Flanagan (emma89) I would agree with the compliant that Pitman and Coke become friends too fast. One moment Pitman is trying to arrest Coke, next they are best friends. It's a bit too convenient. Along with the ending it feels rushed which stands out in a book otherwise well paced.

Sarah and Dickon are definitely the strongest characters. Betting I think could have been interesting if we had seen more of her. Like Sarah she strikes me as a strong woman.

Definitely think I'll be reading Fire.


message 19: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 0 comments Margo, I would have liked to have known a bit more about Coke's background - knew his circumstances had changed in the war etc but wish it had been expanded on.


message 20: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 0 comments Emma - to me Pitman was a character of extremes in some respects, that made him more interesting in my eyes.

A character who had turned the corner in his own eyes through the encouragement of a "good woman"


message 21: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 0 comments Because of the title of the novel I had initially thought that it would be more about the Plague itself. I felt it was more of a backdrop. Did anyone else think this?


message 22: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn The plague is sort of lurking in the background throughout the book but I think that works. It causes ripples of fear throughout the general population and it acts as a sign for the Fifth Monarchists that the end of days is coming.


message 23: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn Emma I think you'll enjoy Fire. It picks up a few months on from the end of Plague and continues the storyline. The pacing is a lot better and there are more twists in the plot that kept me reading chapter after chapter.

@ Cphe there is a brief explanation in Fire of how Coke's circumstances changed during the war. It doesn't give a huge amount of detail but it gives you some idea as to why many soldiers fighting for the King felt bitter in the aftermath.


message 24: by Margo (new)

Margo Cphe wrote: "Margo, I would have liked to have known a bit more about Coke's background - knew his circumstances had changed in the war etc but wish it had been expanded on."

Sometimes with a series more is added to the characters backstory in later installments. Lets hope that that will be the case here. In many ways it can be good to learn about the charactor as the story developes, rather like life. Mostly though Cphe, I'm like you and want a story to be told in its entirety - I not a big fan of series nor shorts.


message 25: by Margo (new)

Margo I think the title was very evocative. There is a great sence of foreboding throughout the novel. On the one hand is this bloodthirsty and viscios serial killer, on the other hand is the putrifying black death. In between there is filty city where life is cheap.


message 26: by Paul (new)

Paul Fully agree Margo.


message 27: by Cphe (last edited Oct 15, 2016 02:20PM) (new)

Cphe | 0 comments Margo, I tend to read standalones as a want the story encapsulated.

However there are exceptions to every rule.

For me that is the incomparable

Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolo series by Dame Dorothy Dunnett

I don't think I'll ever come close to finding such wonderful, superb books again. They are a commitment but such a very very rewarding one.


message 28: by Margo (new)

Margo Thanks Cphe - you have just added to my tbr ;-)


message 29: by Cphe (new)

Cphe | 0 comments Good on you Margo, I have a slight leaning towards Lymond (6 books in total) but they have it all.....


message 30: by Margo (new)

Margo Sound really good. I love historical fiction and I've never read that author. Seems everone is writing about the Tudors these days.


message 31: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Emma wrote: "I don't think has either Downs or Autism. His main issue appears to be fits or seizures which is probably affecting both his movements at times and possibly his speech. It may be epilepsy or someth..."

I thought it was maybe due to a brain injury or maybe oxygen deprivation during a difficult birth? Both would have been common occurrences in a time with little health care.


message 32: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn There are so many possibilities, it might be worth asking the author what he had in mind. Bookworm, that was your question, why not add it to the thread?


message 33: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments I thought you could tell the author is an actor? Its reads like a summer blockbuster to me.

It helps that we have elements from the Fugitive and Les Miserables in the steadfast Pitman chases the evil or not so evil Coke story. Then we have the cop buddy story, when Pitman and Coke team up (thinking some Eddie Murphy movie here). We have a comic side kick in Dickon. Sarah and Lucy are roles written for two very beautiful actresses.

We have the backdrop of 17th Century london, the drama of the plague, period costumes (particularly of the nobility and the actors), scenes of horror and torture (at least a PG then?),
the Fifth Monarchists to add a Dan Brown twist, plenty of chase scenes, a pub in a prison.


Then we have a twist at the end and good lead up to a sequel.

I would definitely pay to see this on a big screen.


message 34: by Emma (new)

Emma Flanagan (emma89) It's apparently been optioned for TV.


message 35: by Emma (new)

Emma Flanagan (emma89) What I enjoyed about it is it's set during a period of English history we don't read about that much. The Henry 8th and Elizabeth 1st reigns have been done to death in the books and tv. We've a lot of books set from the 18th century on, both by contemporary and modern writers. The Stuart's/Cromwell era isn't one we read about that much yet it's probably one of the most interesting periods of English history. We tend to think of England as this very settled country at the end of an Empire, yet under both the Tudors and the Stuart's it was anything but.


message 36: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn I agree Emma. In the space of a decade or so went from a Monarchy to parliament led then back to monarchy. There was major religious upheaval with backlash against the Catholics, puritanical reaction and then more freedom under Charles. Women were allowed act for the first time and then there was the plague and fire which changed the demographics and topography of London drastically. It is such a tumultuous time in English history. And a great setting for Humphreys story.


message 37: by Emma (new)

Emma Flanagan (emma89) It's why it's surprising there isn't more books set during that period. It seems ripe for novels.


message 38: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn It really does. You should definitely read Fire.


message 39: by Emma (new)

Emma Flanagan (emma89) It's on the list. I want to see how all of this plays out. Might try read it after All Quiet on the Western Front.


message 40: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn I have another of his books, Shakespeare's Rebel, on my list for when I am finished Dictator.


message 41: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) | 601 comments Emma wrote: "It's apparently been optioned for TV."

Great, I hope there is a decent budget. I assume they may include Fire if it's going to be a series rather than a TV movie?


message 42: by Serf (new)

Serf I eventually finished this, busy few weeks. Really good cat and mouse story which had me wondering a few times. I kept trying to link in the butcher and his role in the whole story, it finally came together at the end. A nice little twist. Overall worth the read


message 43: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn I'm glad you enjoyed it and am impressed you are managing to read at the mo. The follow up, Fire, is very good as well.


message 44: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine | 152 comments Like everyone I had a great time reading it. The synopsis didn't grab me when it was chosen. Historical fiction+royalty is a hard sell for me. But I really liked Coke and Pitt's partnership.

Sarah was the only interesting female character in it. I liked how in the end she saved herself from Ganthorpe/Strong(didn't see the twist coming at all). In a lot of the books she would have been waiting for the men to save her.

I picked up Fire straightaway so I would definitely recommend it. Was worried at the start about the level of violence but apart from John's violent death I've read far worse.


message 45: by Trelawn (new)

Trelawn Lorraine Fire is great too and you see a lot more of Sarah and Bettina too. I loved both books. I hope the third one gets the green light


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