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Minette Walters made her name as a writer of tense, gory, often harrowing psychological thrillers. She must have felt that she'd written herself out because this is her first book for ten years and it's a sweeping historical saga in the style of Ken Follett. I say sweeping but in fact she's working on a small canvas; it's 1348 and Lady Anne of the manor of Devilish in Dorset hears of a strange and devestating pestilence sweeping the countryside and orders all her serfs within the walls to sit out out the spread of the disease. Needess to say conflicts start developing among the 200 souls who are confined closely together. This is a bit of a curates egg of a book. It is full of wild anachronisms- Lady Anne is incredibly well educated and has a grasp of how infection is spread that many people didn't have in the 19th century, her ideas on equlity, the poor improving their lot, high birth not necessarilymeaning that you have an automatic right to the service of others, consideration to your servants, sexual abuse and the right of women not to sleep with their husbands are very 21st century and definitely not medieval. Some of the charecters come straight out of central casting too; the spoilt daughter of the house, the noble base born steward, the quiet little woman who is so much cleverer than anyone notices. But for me the good bits outweigh the clunky stuff completely (I'm a historian's grandaughter and normally I can't stand that sort of stuff.) Minette Walters is very good indeed at creating atmosphereand a sense of place. Her descriptions of the confinement where no-one knows how the disease is spreading, if there is anyone left alive is compêlling as is the ways she describes the life of the serf. There is a long part near the end of the book where the base born steward and five youths go out to search for supplies, none of them have ever been outside the boundaries of the manor lands before, have ever seen a differnt style of house or as it turns out, a cat.The world; the one very small corner of Dorset they visit, is bigger, more exciting and infinitely more frightening than any of them imagine. All in all this was a very good read. However, be warned it's part of a series and ends very abruptly.
I read the first book (The Emperor's Blades) a few months ago and I just could not put it down, I have to know what happened next and I was so disappointed when I realized that I would need to wait to read the next one, now while roming goodreads I see that the next one in the series, The Providence of Fire has been published and I am off to see if I can get my hands on a copy. Has anyone else read the first one? Wasn't it great?
steven1995uk posted a topic in Writers' CornerHello, I would like to tell you about my crime novel series called 'Herbie Fox Stories'. The story is situated on Hawaii in the 1940s and it's based on a senior detective called 'Herbie Fox'. The next book is finished already and will be released on the 9th of November (its name is 'The Mystery of Bloody River'. Until this date, the price of the ebook is set to 2.99 dollars on Amazon. After this day, it'll be available for 4.99. I'll be more than happy to discuss with you about my book and I really hope you'll enjoy it in case you decide to buy it! Have a nice day, everybody!