Abandoned as a baby outside the cemetery gates and raised by the town's executioner, Marcus grows into a giant as unfeeling as Death.
Traveling fanatics arrive in his Bavarian town bringing not the Word of God, but the Great Dying. As plague consumes his world, Marcus searches for his missing daughter.
Following her tracks in the snow, he encounters the mad, the desperate, and the wicked-and a resourceful young child whose hope and resiliency infect him as the plague did not.
Plaguewalker is a dark but ultimately redemptive historical novel set in Bavaria in the mid-fourteenth century and told from the perspective of its protagonist, the amoral executioner Marcus of Ansberg. As readers journey through a world upended by the plague, they will experience both the brutality of the period and the awakening of a conscience in a man who had believed himself damned.
"A stunning and thoroughly satisfying debut...A riveting, moving tale of atonement and reconciliation, redemption and salvation. The author's audacious choices-a fearsome executioner and expert in torture as point-of-view character and protagonist; the Black Death as catalyst for this same anguished man's evolution and deliverance-pay off in a page-turner of a book that's near-impossible to put down. Tarlach's feel for time and place is authentic and evocative, her language crisp and poetic, and her characterization spot-on: Marcus, stoic and struggling, is an effective, affecting narrator, while bold little Brenna wins the reader's heart right along with her protector's. All told, Plaguewalker is one of the best novels I've read in years."
-Paul McComas, author of Unforgettable, Planet of the Dates, and Unplugged
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About the Author
Gemma began researching the story that would ultimately become Plaguewalker while living in Bavaria in the early 1990s. It would be the first novel she wrote that was inspired by her travels. She is currently at work on the final draft of a fantasy novel, The War's End, and its sequel, The Guardian. Like Plaguewalker, both novels involve a great deal of walking in the cold, one of her favorite pastimes and the place where she hears her characters best.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Gemma currently lives and works at McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica. Tales about her experiences there, as well as other travels through the Southern Hemisphere, can be found at storiesthataretrue.wordpress.com.