The Plague Charmer

  • by Karen Maitland
  • Narrated by Jonathan Keeble
  • 14 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Plague Charmer, by Karen Maitland, author of the much-loved Company of Liars - her first novel of the plague - will chill and delight fans of Kate Mosse and C. J. Sansom in equal measure.
Riddle me this: I have a price, but it cannot be paid in gold or silver.
Porlock Weir, Exmoor, 1361. 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 the 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.


What the Critics Say

"A compelling blend of historical grit and supernatural twists." (Daily Mail)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Superstitious Slugfest

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.
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- Simon


I enjoyed this greatly. It is the second Karen Maitland I have listened to. The language pulls off the trick of sounding archaic but not like listening to Chaucer. The narrator is excellent, the characters are engaging. Will the created dwarf is very sympathetic. The language seems to be spoken in a late Victorian style, so understandable but archaic enough to keep disbelief suspended. And you will need to keep disbelief suspended, something I struggle to do but the neat trick of starting chapters with riddles or quasi magic traditions really helped get into a medieval mindset. An unusual and intriguing story, well constructed, brilliantly imagined and very well told.
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- Biker

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-10-2016
  • Publisher: Headline