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Book DetailsISBN: 9781760295875
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Book Review: The Turn of Midnight by Minette Walters - Reviewed by CloggieA (27 Oct 2018)
The Turn of Midnight is the sequel to The Last Hours, the first book in the Black Death series by award-winning British author, Minette Walters. It begins with a summary of people, places and events the first book, providing a welcome memory aid to readers, but naturally containing many spoilers for that book, so readers are advised to read the books in order of publication.
The community of Develish is still nestled within the protection of their moat, while Thaddeus Thurkell and five young serf sons roam Dorseteshire seeking food enough to ensure the survival of the demesne during the plague. Their success is lauded by all; Lady Anne and Thaddeus have bigger plans, however, for the serfs of Develish.
Their first expedition has certainly, in mere weeks, matured the boys, and it is as men that they set out once more, this time to gauge the effects of the plague on the surrounding towns, but also with a specific aim when they reach the King’s representative at Blandeforde. The situation that confronts them, however, is unexpected, and threatens to derail their careful plan.
This novel is a departure from her usual genre of crime/psychological thriller: Walters gives the reader a fascinating look into the mid-fourteenth Century, bringing history to life in what is obviously the product of extensive research. Her characters are complex, human and flawed. They have secrets and doubts and weaknesses and their actions result in plenty of intrigue.
In the first book, Walters explored the ordeal of surviving the plague; in this satisfying conclusion, she looks at surviving in a world drastically changed, with a population so severely depleted that the very dynamic between serf and master is altered. She demonstrates the strength of beliefs and superstitions and their impact on how those with limited knowledge react. With this sequel, Walters can surely claim a talent for historical fiction. An outstanding read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen&Unwin.
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