The Devil's Disciples (Matthew Bartholomew Series #14)by Susanna Gregory
Rumours of plague threaten Cambridge again, ten years after the Black Death had almost laid waste to the town. Neither the church nor its priests had defended people from the disease and now they turn elsewhere for protection, to pagan ritual and magical potions. It is a ripe atmosphere to be exploited by the mysterious 'Sorcerer', an anonymous magician whose
Rumours of plague threaten Cambridge again, ten years after the Black Death had almost laid waste to the town. Neither the church nor its priests had defended people from the disease and now they turn elsewhere for protection, to pagan ritual and magical potions. It is a ripe atmosphere to be exploited by the mysterious 'Sorcerer', an anonymous magician whose increasing influence seems certain to oust both civil and church leaders from power. One murder, another unexplained death, a font filled with blood, a desecreated grave - all bear the hallmarks of the Sorcerer's hand, only the identity of the magician remains a mystery. A mystery which Matthew Barthlomew must solve before he loses his reputation ... and his life.
Set in 1357 in Cambridge, England, Gregory's taut 14th chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew (after 2008's To Kill or Cure) finds the physician and independent thinker under suspicion when Father Thomas, a pious priest, dies under his care after an accidental blow to the head. The accusations raised against Bartholomew come amid a poisonous atmosphere fostered by a shadowy rabble-rouser known as the Sorcerer, whose true identity is the subject of rampant speculation. Several murders follow Thomas's death. The doctor's willingness to aid any patient in need, including the local witch, provides fodder for his adversaries. When corpses are desecrated, people fear that a satanic cult is at work. Bartholomew questions the true loyalties of some of his closest allies as well as his own ability to uncover the prime mover behind the crimes. As she often does, Gregory offers several plausible false endings, which should please traditional whodunit fans. (Jan.)
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In 1357 Cambridge, England, a hotbed of religious fears and superstition, a dangerous murderer will stop at nothing to gain power. Matthew Bartholomew (The Tarnished Chalice), a doctor and a death investigator, probes the machinations of the Sorcerer, a mysterious figure who calls upon the devil to provide protection from the plague. The pseudonymous Gregory, who is a Cambridge academic and former coroner's officer, demonstrates her knowledge of medieval history in dense prose; lovers of medieval historicals will gobble this up, and fans of Roberta Gellis and Ellis Peters will like it, too.
Jo Ann Vicarel
Meet the Author
Susanna Gregory is the pseudonym of a Cambridge academic who previously worked as a coroner's officer.
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