Karen Maitland travelled and worked in many parts of the United Kingdom before settling for many years in the beautiful medieval city of Lincoln, an inspiration for her writing. She is the author of The White Room, Company of Liars, The Owl Killers, The Gallows Curse and The Falcons of Fire and Ice. She has recently relocated to a life of rural bliss in Devon.
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Author photo © John C. Gibson
Told by many voices, some wise, some wicked, this is the story of a close community under unbearable strain. What is the breaking point where neighbours and even sisters will turn against each other? The older people remember the Great Plague of 1348, an unimaginable horror that decimated Europe, England and the village of Porlock. Now Porlock is threatened once again, but is this natural disease God’s will or the curse of a witch? A mother of lost sons, a religious fanatic, a dwarf ex-jester, a lonely noble woman and others each tell their side of this harrowing story. Charm and sensitivity run throughout the narrative making this a frighteningly believable story. Medieval Porlock is skilfully evoked and some of the landmarks of the story are still visible today. A moving and disturbing tale of humanity pushed to the edge of society and beyond collapses. Those who fear the fashionable modern ‘zombie apocalypse’ would do well to read this and remember that the past also held life-changing horrors. Exciting, enthralling, enticing, disturbing and enjoyable, this is a wonderful read. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Click here to view a Reading Guide for The Plague Charmer.
The quest for eternal life; a tale of alchemy and skulduggery in the thirteenth century. Starting in France our young hero, Philippe, in the employment of a count in the court of Louis VIII discovers some false documents which he uses for a bit of blackmail ending with the lad fleeing for his life. He was to deliver a silver raven’s head to another noble man … Making his way to England he ends up with a lord obsessed with finding the secret to bring people back to life who is in cahoots with an abbot obsessed with finding the elixir to eternal life. Young boys are useful in their experiments … oh, and there is a girl … the local apothecary’s niece … so lots to keep you entertained. ~ Sarah Broadhurst A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'I’ve been Karen Maitland’s publisher since her first medieval novel, Company of Liars – which regularly tops lists of favourite historical novels. And working on these books is nothing less than a delight; each is unique and imaginative in its depiction of the Middle Ages. And yet they are all linked by Maitland’s trademark weaving of dark, sometimes deadly, threads of plot and the pleasure she takes in giving readers an insight into how greatly superstition and religion influenced attitudes and ways of life. In her hands the Middle Ages have never seemed so relevant; she finds echoes of our modern issues in the past – whether climate change in Company of Liars, the riots of 2011 in The Vanishing Witch or the power of the tabloid story in The Raven’s Head. Karen Maitland’s novels are supremely entertaining and addictive as well as educative, as any of her ardent fans will tell you.' - Publishing Director, Mari Evans
Set against the Peasants’ Revolt and the poll tax (yes, they had one in the 1380s), this is an involved, long, medieval drama of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times. We are in Lincoln in the family of a wealthy cloth merchant where Robert becomes infatuated by a mysterious widow seeking to invest her inheritance. The investment goes bottom-up, Robert becomes perhaps too close to the widow and his family don’t like it. Now superstition, witchcraft and strange happenings abounded in that time and much occurs here. This is glorious stuff, intriguing and thrilling on every page with a mass of historical detail, drama and colour. A great story well told. Click here to see The Raven's Head by the same author.
Pagans tackle the Knights of St John with terrible consequences in the new medieval thriller by Queen of the Dark Ages, Karen Maitland. Set on the wilds of Dartmoor, this is a ghostly tale for fans of The Essex Serpent, C. J. Sansom's Shardlake series and The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse. 'A dark read... fear and hysteria are portrayed with claustrophobic skill' The Times on THE PLAGUE CHARMER 1316. On the wilds of Dartmoor stands the isolated Priory of St Mary, home to the Sisters of the Knights of St John. People journey from afar in search of healing at the holy well that lies beneath its chapel. But the locals believe Dartmoor was theirs long before Christianity came to the land. And not all who visit seek miracles. When three strangers reach the moor, fear begins to stir as the well's waters run with blood. What witchcraft have the young woman, the Knight of St John and the blind child brought with them? The Sisters will need to fight for everything they hold dear as the ghosts of the Old World gather in their midst.
Liars and Thieves is an exclusive novella featuring characters from Karen Maitland's much-loved Company of Liars, set against the backdrop of the plague outbreak of 1348. 'Combines the storytelling traditions of The Canterbury Tales with the supernatural suspense of Mosse's Sepulchre in this atmospheric tale of treachery and magic' Marie Claire on Company of Liars Camelot and Narigorm the rune reader return to delight fans of Karen Maitland's classic novel as the company - in their desperate bid to outrun the plague - encounter a band of outlaws, who are making the most of the breakdown in law and order to steal from the weak ... and kill at leisure.But in the child Narigorm they might just have met their match - for plague is the lesser of those two evils.
The Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland, author of the hugely popular Company of Liars, is a powerful historical thriller which takes you right back to the darkest corners of the 16th century. Intelligently written and meticulously researched, it is a real treat for all fans of CJ Sansom and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. 'A tour de force: dark and woven with the supernatural' Daily Mail 1564, Lisbon. The Inquisition displays its power and ruthlessly spreads fear. Heretics are tortured and burned. Any who oppose the Church's will realize that silence is preferable to a slow and agonizing death. Isabela, daughter of the Falconer at the Royal Court, is about to be caught in the Church's terrifying schemes. The slaughter of two of the King's precious white falcons sees her father arrested and imprisoned. As punishment he and his family will be killed unless the birds are replaced. Isabela, young and headstrong, decides that only she can save her father. These birds are impossibly rare, and she will have to travel far and into strange lands to find them to clear her father's name. It is a journey that will take her into a dark and dangerous world filled with menacing people driven by fearful beliefs. And, unfortunately for Isabela, the Church has sent a companion to ensure she never returns . . . Step back in time with Karen Maitland's Dark Tales and discover a world full of imagination in The Falcons of Fire and Ice - 'a thrilling horrible vision of the Dark Ages' Metro Karen Maitland travelled and worked in many parts of the United Kingdom before finally settling in the beautiful medieval city of Lincoln. She is the author of The White Room, Company of Liars, The Owl Killers and The Gallows Curse. The latter three titles are available as Penguin paperbacks.
The thirteenth-century is just begun and King John has fallen out with the Pope, leaving babies to lie unbaptized in their cradles and corpses in unconsecrated ground. Across a fear-ravaged England, the people are dying in sin. In the village of Gastmere, this has shocking consequences for servant girl Elena. Unwittingly drawn into a macabre scheme to absolve dying Lord Gerard of his crimes, death and betrayal haunt her dreams like a curse. And when Elena is threatened with hanging for a murder she did not commit, it is certain that unnatural conspiracy lies behind these dark deeds. But where can she turn? For in every face lies wickedness and in every shadow lurks treachery . . .
Another sensational slice of Dark Ages Gothic from the author of the triumphant seller Company of Liars England, 1321 Welcome to the Dark Ages In the heart of the countryside lies an isolated village, where pagan Owl Masters rule through fear, superstition and murder. When a group of religious women ill-advisedly settles outside the village, they awaken dangerous jealousies. Why do their crops succeed? How do their cattle survive the plague? Are they concealing a holy relic which protects them from harm? The Owl Masters cry 'Witchcraft' and sharpen their talons. As torment and hellfire rain down, the women must look to their faith to save them from the darkness spreading across the land. Fear is a question of what you believe. And death alone the answer. Karen Maitland lives in Lincolnshire and is the author of The White Room, which won an Author's Club Best First Novel Award, and Company of Liars, published to outstanding critical acclaim in 2008.
In this extraordinary novel, Karen Maitland delivers a dazzling reinterpretation of Chaucers Canterbury Talesan ingenious alchemy of history, mystery, and powerful human drama. The year is 1348. The Black Plague grips the country. In a world ruled by faith and fear, nine desperate strangers, brought together by chance, attempt to outrun the certain death that is running inexorably toward them.Each member of this motley company has a story to tell. From Camelot, the relic-seller who will become the groups leader, to Cygnus, the one-armed storyteller . . . from the strange, silent child called Narigorm to a painter and his pregnant wife, each has a secret. None is what they seem. And one among them conceals the darkest secret of allpropelling these liars to a destiny they never saw coming.Magical, heart-quickening, and raw, Company of Liars is a work of vaulting imagination from a powerful new voice in historical fiction.From the Hardcover edition.
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