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The Gallows Curse by [Maitland, Karen]
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The Gallows Curse Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Length: 592 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Review

A ripping tale set in the year of 1210. Full of colour and detail (Daily Telegraph)

Maitland's richest yet: a breathless romp through an England rendered spiritually desolate. Bubbles over with the exploits of desperate priests, scheming herbalists, torturous conspirators, a dwarf-sized madam and a plot of treason against the King (Metro)

Bawdy and brutal (Simon Mayo)

A gem of a story. Meticulously researched and told with blood-curdling relish, this is a tale that will keep you awake at night (News of the World)

A richly evocative page-turner which brings to life a lost and terrible period of British history, with a disturbing final twist worthy of a master of the spine-tingler, such as Henry James (Daily Express)

Karen Maitland neatly catches the spirit of primitive superstition (Daily Express)

About the Author

Karen Maitland travelled and worked in many parts of the United Kingdom before finally settling in the beautiful medieval city of Lincoln. She is the author of The White Room, Company of Liars and The Owl Killers. The latter two titles are available as Penguin paperbacks.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3796 KB
  • Print Length: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004PYDBHQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,153 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Very disappointing - doesn't live up to the expectations you have after reading company of liars......
The characters are 2 dimensional and you feel no warmth or empathy for them ..it feels like this book has all the recipe elements but unfortunately the cake comes out flat...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The basic premise/plot line of the book falls apart less than half way through. If the mother and daughter witches have enough power to do some quite strong magic by themselves, then there is absolutely no need to use Elena, ruin her,her son's life and her husband's also, in order to get their revenge on someone not connected to her. That whole plot line seemed really pointless, and very sad. I enjoyed KM's first 2 books immensely but this one I struggled to finish; and the weird speeches of the mandrake really irritated.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved company of liars, so was hoping this novel would be just as good. I was wrong, I really found this book disappointing and complicated at times to follow.
My key issues-
1. Very slow in the middle of the story, which is where it should be the most interesting.
2. The character of Elena, very unsympathetic in my opinion, feeble and weak.
3. Twist at the end no where near as good as anticipated at the start of the novel.

I give it two stars because-
1. It was good to start with.
2. The history of the time was well documented, and interesting to learn about how King John stopped marriages due to his fall out with the church.

Overall I give it -4/10
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Format: Paperback
This is a slow dark and ultimately unsatisfying book. The main character is a listless child who spends most of her time bleating over and over that she can't do things and the secondary cast are little better. After The Company of Liars I was expecting more from Karen Maitland but this is a truly turgid book stuffed with mutilation, rape, murder, and a spineless and unsympathetic cast who treat one another abominably for scant reason. Best suited to those who like their fiction slow, hopeless, and murky.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well researched, but the story is improbable, deeply disturbing and upsetting in some places, with a terrible ending. There's three days of my life I won't be getting back. A really really horrible book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having loved and reviewed Karen Maitland's previous two books, Company of Liars and The Owl Killers, I was expecting great things from The Gallows Curse. I was not at all disappointed.
Set against the backdrop of Pope Innocent III's Interdict imposed on England in 1208, after King John refused to accept the pope's appointee, Stephen Langton, as Archbishop of Canterbury, The Gallows Curse is a dark and complex historical mystery.
The cast of characters is diverse, yet linked by many invisible ties. The author depicts the loneliness and terror of life as a runaway villain through the eyes of Elena, one of the main characters. The reader sympathises with her terrible predicament, and yearns to see her take revenge on her tormentors. The other main character, Raffaele, is fascinating: tortured and full of flaws, at the same time enchanting and repulsive, hero and anti-hero.
Sexual deviance, violent death, treason and cunning women with ancient grudges feature along the winding road of this story, as Elena and Raffaele, both together and alone, attempt to elude the treacherous snares thrown in their paths.
The way Karen Maitland seamlessly weaves the supernatural into the story, I could easily believe in the magic, the spells and potions, as did these medieval people. And the "mandrake" as narrator adds even more intrigue, firmly grounding the story in this age of myth and superstition.
13th-century England is depicted so vividly I could almost feel, taste and smell it, and I was mesmerised from the beginning. I would highly recommend The Gallows Curse to lovers of medieval fiction, especially to those with a taste for the darkly humorous and a few surprise twists in the tale.
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