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  • Location: Exmoor, Porlock Weir, Culbone

The Plague Charmer

The Plague Charmer

Why a Booktrail?

1361: Thirteen years after the Great Pestilence, plague strikes England for the second time.

  • ISBN: 978-1472235824
  • Genre: Fantasy/Sci Fi, Ghost/supernatural, Graphic or other

What you need to know before your trail

When plague comes to England for the second time, people fear it more than they did the first time. For now the stories of the horror and the stench of death haunt them as well as the reality of what is most likely to befall them.

Sara, a packhorse man’s wife, remembers the horror all too well and fears for safety of her children.

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.

A stranger offers an answer : The price that I ask, from one willing to pay… A human life.

Travel Guide

A tour of the Plague…..

Exmoor National Park

Imagine this in the time the novel is set….. Brrrrr

The village of Porlock Weir

Porlock Weir, about 1.5 miles west of Porlock, Somerset is a small settlement around a harbour. It’s in Exmoor area which is partly in Devon and partly Somerset.

The residents here live in superstitious and dark times. When the sun appears to be swallowed up by a blackness they’ve never seen the like of before, they are horrified and shocked. This is part of their fear which just boils over until it pervades every part of their lives. The sun reappears of course but the darkness is seen as an omen. When a storm follows, a shipwreck smashes against the rocks. Dangerous times and death comes to their village but there does seem to be one survivor. A woman with stormy eyes who warns that the plague is on its way….The plague is to return to England via Porlock Weir and this lady is a plague charmer who can keep it at bay for a price of course.

Porlock Weir is an ancient fishing village in Exmoor and is famous for its medieval fish weirs which can still be seen today.

Black Death

The first black death which killed so many in 1348 also killed many in 1361 but this second wave of death killed many more men than women. The reasons are unknown but it is thought that men had more iron in their blood and this is what it first allowed the disease to multiply quickly.

The weather at the time saw that the worst storms on record did indeed batter the coastline around Exmoor and the wind was actually a hurricane which battered and destroyed much of the coastline as well as everything else in its path.


The village of Kitnor as in the novel is today known as Culborne


Booktrailer Review

Clare:  @thebooktrailer

What a fascinatingly grim and supernatural read! This is one heck of a complex read which totally and utterly immerses you in the dark shadowy superstitions of the time. The plague seems so real, I swear I was looking over my shoulder for birds or anything that might carry a disease. I felt I should be reading it with a mask on to protect from anything to emerge from the pages as I read.  Brrr this really got me going as it was chillingly portent of so many gruesome moments in history.

The author has written extensive historical notes at the back and I spent ages just soaking them up and realising the shadowy brilliance of this novel. Imagine what the Black Death would have been like! This novel takes you there and shoves your head right in the action. This is what the apocalypse must be like. The fear, the hidden meaning in the sun hiding behind the moon etc. You can see where believes and legends come from.

Having such an epic tale told in the tiny fishing village of Porlock Weir is just brilliant. It’s like shining a candle light spot on just one tiny part of the UK which suffered at the time of this plague and magnifying what it and its people went through. Every last hacking cough and every last deadly shipwreck.

Maitland’s writing style shines here and she seems to me to be the only writer who could have written this. I of course imagine her dressed in a cloak and long black dress with her long black hair following down her back as I read this but maybe that’s just me. This is a story of murder in medieval times, the black death, superstitious times and a village held in  post-apocalyptic doom.

I so need to visit Porlock Weir and the other places and read this book on location!

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information: The Plague Charmer

Author/ Guide: Karen Maitland  Destination: Exmoor, Porlock Weir, Culbone  Departure Time: 1361

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