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The Gallows Curse Paperback – 15 Mar 2012
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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.
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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...
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.
We follow Elena, at first happy and in love, content with her lot, until she is plucked from the obscurity of manual labour to work in the manor house. Pope Innocent III has placed the kingdom of England under an interdict after King John refused to accept the pope's appointee Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury. The Church's sacraments have been withdrawn from the people - including the last rights. Tricked into unwittingly and unknowingly taking a dead mans sins, Elena begins to have bad dreams. The whole situation begins to spiral out of control, as Elena becomes no longer sure about whether her dreams are real and what she is capable of doing. As life at the manor begins to fall apart, so does Elena's life collapse with it. There are French spies, crusaders, a wonderful madame at a brothel, a eunuch, a wise woman, a mandrake and various other characters who make this book a really evocative, enjoyable and exciting read. All I can say is that I am looking forward to Karen Maitland's next book - an author who will be automatically pre-ordered. Intelligent and imaginative, brilliantly written and exciting, with characters you both believe in and care about - I guarantee you will enjoy this. If you have not read any of Karen Maitland's books then download this immediately and then enjoy the first two books. You have a great time awaiting you.
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I would recommend it to any one with a vivid imagination thank you :)
I have read nearly all of Karen Maitlands books which I found most enjoyable, however I wish, as...Read more