Welcome to my stop on the The Plague Charmer Blog Tour written by Karen Maitland. I’m so pleased to be taking part in such a suitably chilling blog tour for Halloween, which as many of you know is by far my favourite day of the year, not least because I got married with a halloween knees up on the day itself! I hope you enjoy this fantastic guest post from Karen Maitland, and be sure to check out the The Plague Symptom Checker aswell…and be sure not to sneeze!
The Plague Charmer, by Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages and bestselling author of Company of Liars, will chill and delight fans of C.J. Sansom and Kate Mosse’s Citadel in equal measure.
Riddle me this: I have a price, but it cannot be paid in gold or silver.
1361. Porlock Weir, Exmoor. 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 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.
‘Beware the Bear’ by Karen Maitland
One of the creatures prowling through my new medieval thriller The Plague Charmer, is a bear. Although the native bear had been hunted to extinction in England by the 13th century, bears were a familiar sight in medieval Britain. In 1252, Henry III received the gift of a ‘pale bear’, probably a polar bear, from the king of Norway. He housed it in the Tower of London and required the sheriffs of London to supply its food. They tethered it on the banks of the Thames where it could fish for itself to the delight of the crowds.
But a far more common sight was the brown bear. No medieval fair would have been complete without a dancing bear. However cruelly treated, their lives were better than bears used in the lucrative ‘sport’ of bear-baiting, in which they would be set upon by dogs, trained to snatch ribbons or flowers stuck on the bears’ heads with pitch, or simply to fight them.
In spite of Edward III’s attempts to discourage it, bear-baiting was a favourite medieval pastime and many fortunes were won or lost betting on the outcome. By the reign of Henry VIII ‘many herds of bears’ were kept for this purpose in towns across Britain. In 1620, the town of Congleton, Cheshire had raised money to buy a new bible, but when the town bear died, they used the money to pay for a new bear instead.
In medieval Christian belief, the bear represented evil, cruelty, greed and even the devil himself. However, people believed that bears gave birth to a shapeless lump of flesh and licked it into the form of a cub, which gives rise to the saying ‘licking into shape.’ So the bear also became a symbol of conversion from paganism to Christianity.
According to folklore if a person kills a bear, the bear’s ghost will continue to haunt that spot and terrorise all who encounter it. There are tales of ghost bears rearing up on lonely roads at night, or in darkened alleyways. Legend has it that the ghost of a bear haunts Martin Tower in the Tower of London. It was once seen by a guard on duty, and the sight so terrified him that he collapsed and died. A living bear might be dangerous enough, but its ghost can haunt you to the grave and beyond.
- Check out the Plague Charmer Symptom Checker what type of plague do you have??? Let me know in the comments!
About 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.
Author Links: Website
Title: The Plague Charmer
Author: Karen Maitland
Genre: Historical Fiction | Fantasy
Publisher: Headline Publishing
Publication Date: 20 October 2016
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Paperback | Audio
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | iBooks