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This is a dark, dark book. There is precious little joy for Maitland's victims of the plague. The highlight for me was a narration masterclass from Jonathan Keeble and the last few hours of the book which turned out to be well worth the wait. Prior to that I found it a bit of a long haul and to be fair I guess common fisherfolk from the time were not exactly masters of wit. It did feel pretty slow going at times to me though and one of the relationships key to the plot was fairly unlikely.
Overall I'm pleased to have read it but the sheer glumness of the scenario does weigh heavily. Maitland has a good turn of phrase at times and I very much bought into the superstitious paranoia that dominated her medieval characters. A fascinating parallel was that both rich and poor alike shared their ignorance albeit expressed differently.
So, this is a dark tale set in dark times but with Keeble's impressive narration it's definitely worth a read.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
It took me a while to get hooked into this book - it's told through several points of view and it took me about an hour of listening to really get into the characters. After that, I found it addictive listening.
It's a dark tale, but the medieval setting is very believable. The narrator does a very good job, I feel, of differentiating between the different characters and the plot rolls on at a satisfying pace. I have also listened to the Company of Liars by the same author, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I feel this novel is just as good. I look forward to trying some other books by Karen Maitland.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful