Release Date: 03/03/11
1210 and a black force is sweeping England. For a vengeful King John has seized control of the Church, leaving corpses to lie in unconsecrated ground, babies unbaptized in their cradles and the people terrified of dying in sin. And in the village of Gastmere, the consequences grow darker still when Elena, a servant girl, is dragged into a conspiracy to absolve the sins of the lord of the manor. As the terrors that soon begin to plague Elena's sleep grow darker, in desperation she visits the cunning woman, who has been waiting for just such an opportunity to fulfil an ancient curse conjured at the gallows. Elena, haunted by this curse and threatened with death for a crime she didn't commit, flees the village ... only to find her nightmare has barely begun. For treachery lurks in every shadow as King John’s brutal reign makes enemies of brothers, murderers of virgins and sinners of us all.
If I’m going to be blunt here, you really have to read Karen Maitland. She is a very gifted author who brings a time period to life for the young reader and does so in such a way that the facts are just absorbed like a sponge. It’s beautifully written, the characters colourful as well as believable and when backed with a good sense of pace, some great dialogue and an overall arc that will keep the reader glued from start to finish, makes this an author that, as I’ve already said, is impossible to miss.
Add to this that Karen is an author who will appeal to adults as well as young readers in much the same way as JK Rowling and you know that you’ll both take something unique from her work. Personally I feel that if you’re trying to encourage a love of books, this makes an ideal companion for you and your young reader to indulge in together which will give the chance to discuss themes and idea’s present within. A title so delicious that I feel you’d be a fool to miss.