Search our site
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

Reader Reviewed
The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland

The Plague Charmer

Historical Fiction   Family Drama   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Share this book

Lovereading view...

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.

If you like Karen Maitland you might also like to read books by Philippa Gregory, Gregory Norminton and Ken Follett .

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Margaret Freeman - 'Compelling reading, a fascinating medieval tale full of atmosphere and superstition. I thoroughly enjoyed it.'
  • Victoria Whish - 'This dark tale of plague and suspicion wrapped up with the supernatural is guaranteed to chill the bones on a cold winter’s night. Light the candles, lock the doors and prepare to be 'charmed!'    
  • Cathy Petersen - 'A wonderfully entertaining tale of ancient curses and the things people will do when the lives of loved ones are at stake.'
  • Sue Broom - 'A fast-flowing action story with lots of historical detail thrown in, entertaining and illuminating, I enjoyed its blend of fact and fiction.'
  • Kerry Bridges - 'Another great novel by Karen Maitland and another one I highly recommend.'
  • Sue Mooney - 'Absolutely brilliant! From the very beginning you simply won't want to put this book down.'
  • Jane Gilman - 'Medieval noir at it's very best. I haven't read Karen Maitland before but I will be ordering everything I have missed. Deliciously frightening.'
  • Janet Gilliard - 'This is a dense historical novel well written and worth persevering with.'
  • Angela Rhodes - 'Once again Karen has managed to weave her magic, hold the readers hand and whisk them away, this time, to 1361, Porlock Wier, Exmoor...A gripping, tense story waits for those who enjoy legends and curses.'
  • Marjorie Lacy - 'This one is up there with the greatest!! The author, Karen Maitland knows her subject, her writing is exceptionally good. There not a dull moment on any page.'
  • Vikki Patis - 'I urge you to read this fantastic addition to Maitland's excellent collection. Dark and atmospheric, Maitland does it yet again with her chilling evocation of the Dark Ages.'           


The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland

'If you like dark, atmospheric, historical fantasy, then this is definitely one for you' Daily Mail The Plague Charmer, by Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages and bestselling author of Company of Liars, will chill and delight fans of The Essex Serpent and Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project in equal measure. 1361. An unlucky thirteen years after the Black Death, plague returns to England. When the sickness spreads from city to village, who stands to lose the most? And who will seize this moment for their own dark ends? The dwarf who talks in riddles? The mother who fears for her children? The wild woman from the sea? Or two lost boys, far away from home? Pestilence is in the air. But something much darker lurks in the depths.


'A brilliant writer, with a real sense of history' -- Susanna Gregory

'If you like dark, atmospheric, historical fantasy, then this is definitely one for you' Daily Mail

'A dark read... fear and hysteria are portrayed with claustrophobic skill' The Times

'A really good read... as much one for first time Maitlanders as it is for the fans' Bookbag

'Karen Maitland is the go-to writer for gruesome medieval murk' Writing Magazine

'Written in dark but engaging prose, it is historical fiction with an apocalyptic twist' Lady

About the Author

Karen Maitland

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.

Click here to read a our Ask the Author feature on Karen Maitland.

Author photo © John C. Gibson

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

6th April 2017


Karen Maitland

More books by Karen Maitland
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website


Headline Review an imprint of Headline Publishing Group


576 pages


Historical Fiction
Family Drama
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



It is a website dedicated to those who adore reading It really is a one stop shop for book lovers. Love it!

Edel Waugh

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

I love Lovereading because of its ability to connect people that love books & unite them in a friendly, stimulating & interesting community.

Megan Olwen William

Lovereading is not only an amazing site, but it's one of my very favourites. It's like visiting a fascinating bookstore, but better.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett

The best new books on the market, reviewed honestly, to give your readers the best choices.

Julie Cook

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin