About the Book
Riddle me this: I have a price, but it cannot be paid in gold or silver.
1361. Porlock Weir, Exmoor. Thirteen years after the Great Pestilence, plague strikes England for the second time. Sara, a packhorse man’s wife, remembers the horror all too well and fears for safety of her children.
Only a dark-haired stranger offers help, but at a price that no one will pay.
Fear gives way to hysteria in the village and, when the sickness spreads to her family, Sara finds herself locked away by neighbours she has trusted for years. And, as her husband – and then others – begin to die, the cost no longer seems so unthinkable.
The price that I ask, from one willing to pay… A human life.
The Plague Charmer is the first book that I have read by Karen Maitland and also the first that I have read that is set in the 14th century.
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 the plague itself but their battle doesn’t end there.
I remember learning about the plague at school and how devastating it was. The rapid spread and agony experienced by the victims was exactly how I imagined it to be. I loved Will’s character, he was very determined, loyal and a great sense of humour especially regarding Matilda who was a very nasty individual. I’m not sure whether his storyline was a true reflection but it made fascinating reading. All the women who featured had strong characters and were determined to do everything to survive. They were more than willing to attempt their husband’s work.
Even though the novel was at times traumatic there was still plenty of humour. I was still laughing two days after reading a comment regarding childbirth from Cador. The only part of the novel that I wasn’t as keen on was the storyline concerning the Prophet. I found it a bit too intimidating compared to the rest of the novel. However, it was only a small part of the novel.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.