If you have read Minette Walters previously, you will remember her books as some of the best you have read. Thrillers like no others. The Ice House, The Sculptress or The Scold’s Bridle – winners of many awards, and appreciated around the world.
Now prepare yourself.
After many years of not publishing, Walters has returned with an historical novel, so it is nothing like her earlier works.
Its setting is Dorsetshire in England in the mid fourteenth century. The time of the dreaded Black Plague.
Thousands are at risk throughout the country, but in the village of Develish something is very different. They seem to be immune. The reason is Walters’s marvellous character, the Lady Anne,loved, admired and obeyed by all, other than her wretched daughter, Eleanor. Lady Anne isolates her people, refusing entry to all others. She does not believe that the plague is an act of God, she believes the cause is lack of hygiene, though she does not know it by that name. Her steward, Thaddeus, a young serf, raised above his perceived station, realises that Develish is safe, but they need to know what is happening elsewhere, and they need food also.
He crosses the moat, and what does he find? Can it be resolved? And how can Eleanor’s spite and selfishness be contained? The amount of research undertaken by Walters is extraordinary, for she brings these bygone times, customs, language and morals to glowing colour, ensuring that the entranced reader will continue to the very end.
Once there, devotees will be delighted to understand that a sequel is in the offing. Minette Walters has her readers in the palm of her very different hand!
THE LAST HOURS by MINETTE WALTERS PUBLISHED by ALLEN & UNWIN for a recommended $32.99