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A Plague On Both Your Houses: 1 (Matthew Bartholomew) [Kindle Edition]

Susanna Gregory
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A good, serious and satisfying read (IRISH TIMES)

Book Description

A stylish re-cover of the novel which began the word-of-mouth sales phenomena of the Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1105 KB
  • Print Length: 415 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0751516953
  • Publisher: Sphere (2 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,288 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Susanna Gregory was a police officer in Leeds before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental consultant, doing fieldwork with whales, seals and walruses during seventeen field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and biological anthropology.

She is the creator of the Thomas Chaloner series of mysteries set in Restoration London as well as the Matthew Bartholomew books, and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start to a great series 14 Jan. 2004
By R. Weir
Having read all the Margery Allingham books I could lay my hands on, and finished all of the Ellis Peters (Cadfael) novels, I was looking around for something new to try. "A Plague on Both Your Houses" attracted my attention; and I'm very glad it did.
Bartholomew is a teacher and physician at odds with his times. He believes more in clean water than astrology for example. A physician turned murder investigator in medieval England? Are you thinking Cadfael? There are similarities, but also many differences.... Matthew is not held in high regard by many of his colleagues, even considered heretical by some, and as a member of a University College in a town deeply suspicious of the scholars in it's midst he finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place in a way that Cadfael often isn't. Also, Cadfael is a much more wordly-wise character than the sometimes hopelessly naive Bartholomew.
When I first started reading this, I got to about halfway and almost stopped. It seemed too cut and dried, too easy to spot the murderer. However, I persisted and was rewarded with the discovery that the plot is much more intricate, and in fact my guesses that I was so sure of were far from the actuality. It's considerably deeper than many mystery novels, and when set against a background of an intriguing period of history - the plague years - there's plenty to keep you entertained.
While this book does a good job of introducing Bartholomew and some of the main characters of the series, it also suffers somewhat because of this. The other books in the series that I've read often seem much tighter, in part because some of the past history is already assumed - though like Cadfael and Campion, it's never forgotten.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent plot and read 10 Nov. 2010
I bought this book because I wanted something in the vein of CJ Sansom as I had read all his Shardlake books and was desperate for a replacement historical detective story. Having read Karen Maitland's a Company of Liars and finding it ok but a bit lacking and reading Martyr by Rory Clements and finding that ok, but certainly not up to CJ Sansom standard I thought I'd give Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew a go. I thought this was brilliant and it filled the CJ Sansom gap perfectly. Her descriptions of the Black Death and the environment around this time in history was excellent and what you should expect from a writer who has studied this at University. I am hooked on these books now and am currently reading the second chronicle in this series and will read all the rest, and there are plenty to read! I have given myself a pat on the back for finding this gem of a writer and can only recommend her.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellant Introduction . . . 14 Jan. 2005
By David Cranson VINE VOICE
. . . to the life and times of Matthew Bartholomew. Ms Gregory introduces her characters slowly, but surely. The ethos of the times is portrayed wonderfully, with the sounds and smells of 14th centuary Cambridge coming vividly - sometimes Very vividly (!) - to life. Matthew Bartholomew is a physician whose ways are not in line with Catholic/church teaching of the time. He has been tutored by - anong others - an Arab tutor in Paris, as a result of which he knows more about the workings of the human body than his peers do.
This brings resentment and fear in almost equal measures. It also, tho', brings him patients, who would rather try him than spend money on cures of more traditional practitioners and most likely end up dead. Plus the fact that Matthew has that NHS thinking whereby payment is not always required or sought.
His friends and acquaintances are introduced when needed, all of whom lend their weight to a story which pulls you in until you're hooked.
Matthew at times seems like a reluctant detective - it is not really his vocation - but his solving of the puzzles and interaction with authority and received wisdom make for a cracking read, which is highly recommended to anyone who like myteries, crime stories or historical fiction.
I look forward to the TV and/or film rights being bought up. I reckon it's even better than Cadfael!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Cadfael 16 Jan. 2007
This is a fantastic medieval mystery and a glorious introduction to the Matthew Bartholomew series. I've read them all now, and they really should be read in sequence, so if you are considering reading these chronicles, this is the best place to start. One of the best things about this book, and in fact the whole series, is that they are wonderfully atmospheric - so much so that you can actually feel yourself transported to medieval Cambridge. The characters are well-defined and the story provides some real surprises - all necessary for a good murder mystery. The temptation is, of course, to compare this series with the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. Having read both, I would say that Susanna Gregory's are superior in every way. In particular, they are less formulaic than Cadfael and in my opinion, readers are therefore less likely to become bored with the Matthew Bartholomew series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Start to a Great Series 26 Feb. 2008
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Susanna Gregory is the pseudonym of a Cambridge academic who was previously a coroner's officer. Her series of mediaeval mysteries have gained a formidable following. This book is the first in the series and introduces the physician Matthew Bartholomew to the reader. There are now a number of books in the series and they are always eagerly awaited by the author's fans.

Besides practising medicine Matthew is also a teacher at a Cambridge University and his sometimes unorthodox treatment of his patients draws accusations of heresy from his more traditional, but less skilled colleagues.

The year is 1348 and the inhabitants of Cambridge live under the shadow of a terrible pestilence that has swept through northern Europe, crossed the channel and moved voraciously through southern England. As if Matthew had not enough to contend with he is distracted by the death of the Master of the university, an inexplicable death and one that the authorities do not seem to want solving.

When three more scholars died in unexplained circumstances Bartholomew decides enough is enough and begins his own enquiry into the death, but his pursuit of the truth leads him into a complex tangle of lies and deceit that causes him to question the innocence or otherwise of close friends and even his family. On top of all this the Black Death has finally arrived in Cambridge . . .
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