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A Plague On Both Your Houses: 1: The First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew (Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew) [Paperback]

Susanna Gregory
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 July 1996 Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew (Book 1)
In the tradition of Ellis Peters, A Plague on Both Your Houses introduces the physician Matthew Bartholomew, whose unorthodox but effective treatment of his patients frequently draws accusations of heresy from his more traditional colleagues. Besides his practice, Bartholomew is teacher of Medicine at Michaelhouse, part of the fledgling University of Cambridge. In 1348, the inhabitants of Cambridge live under the shadow of a terrible pestilence that has ravaged Europe and is travelling relentlessly eastward towards England. Bartholomew, however, is distracted by the sudden and inexplicable death of the Master of Michaelhouse - a death the University authorities do not want investigated. When three more scholars die in mysterious circumstances, Bartholomew defies the University and begins his own enquiry. His pursuit for the truth leads him into a complex tangle of lies and intrigue that causes him to question the innocence of his closest friends, and even his family. And then the Black Death finally arrives and Bartholomew is dragged deeper and deeper into a quagmire which threatens not only his life, but the continued existence of the University and the future of the town.

Frequently Bought Together

A Plague On Both Your Houses: 1: The First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew (Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew) + An Unholy Alliance: 2: The Second Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew (The Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew) + A Bone Of Contention: 3: The Third Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew (The Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew)
Price For All Three: 22.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (4 July 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751516953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751516951
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 10.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

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.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start to a great series 14 Jan 2004
By R. Weir
Format:Paperback
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent plot and read 10 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback
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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellant Introduction . . . 14 Jan 2005
By David Cranson VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
. . . 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
Format:Paperback
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start... 18 Sep 2006
By Dodster TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I was looking for a medieval murder mystery type book having finished Ellis Peter's Cadfael series. I was researching in my local bookstore when I came across the Matthew Bartholomew series. I found this one a bit slow to start with and with perhaps too many characters and sub plots to remember who was who as a put down, pick up type reader. But hang in there...

I persevered and am now on my 5th novel. I'm hooked. They get better and better as do the plots and characters, who skillfully draw you into their lives and intrigues.

If you like Cadfael and the likes, this is for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars another good yarn
Thank you Miss Gregory. I love medieval mysteries, so far your books have not disappointed me. I look forward to reading many more.
Published 29 days ago by m
4.0 out of 5 stars A Plague on Both Your Houses
see comment on Bone of Contention. I am really enjoying the series surrounding Mathew Bartholomew and his friends adventures and investigations.
Published 2 months ago by Miss A Wray
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable
As I enyoyed the other book book by this author I can only say that it was excellent as before.
Published 5 months ago by Barbara A Bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
An interesting story around a period of history about which I have very little knowledge. The Plague and its origins and decline. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Puglia Birdman
5.0 out of 5 stars A good medieaval detective story
A good book written by a good author, interesting and gripping read, with a fascinating insight to Cambridge in the 1300s.
Published 9 months ago by Mrs Helen Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Death and murder
Matthew Bartholomew is a physician in 14th century Cambridge. The University is in its early days and relations between town and gown are tense. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Plucked Highbrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
The first book in a series with Matthew Bartholemew. The descriptions of Cambridge are accurate, the way people live what they did. Read more
Published 9 months ago by DesCave
4.0 out of 5 stars a plague on both your houses
this is a new seies of books for me,i am enjoying the thomas chaloner books, so have started on matthew lbartholmew books. Read more
Published 10 months ago by MPeters
4.0 out of 5 stars ~Unread as yet
I received this book promptly from the seller but I havent as yet read it as I am wading through others ordered at the same time a friend who has read it assures me it is worth it.
Published 10 months ago by Alona
3.0 out of 5 stars Obviously a first attempt
Found the writing style a little simplistic, cautious even, but the plot was good and the characters realistic. Good descriptions of medieval life too. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Fiwork
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