by Gemma Tarlach


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I was born of the Devil. That is what they said. I was a conjure of night and fog, and the grave was the womb from which I emerged.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985260507
Publisher: Grunaskhan Books
Publication date: 05/17/2012
Pages: 180
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.41(d)

About the Author

Gemma Tarlach has been, among other things, a journalist, a diplomat, and a pastry chef. She has lived on four continents and traveled through the other three. Wherever she wanders, writing has been the one constant in her life.

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

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Plaguewalker 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
paradigmq More than 1 year ago
New to historical fiction I was a tad hesitant, but after the first few pages I was sold. Tarlach weaves a story that is dark, yet heartfelt; and the events are plausible and relatable. The author has a succinct attention to detail and possesses a beautiful mastery of word and wit. After finishing the story I was left with a hunger for more of her writing as well as wishing she had a series of similar stories of the era. If this book ever becomes a movie I'll be first in line to purchase a ticket.
Iron_Bluebird More than 1 year ago
If you like historial fiction that is gritty and real, this is a read for you. Set in medieval Germany, the author takes you on a literal journey with parts of society that were not much talked about, then or now. Having studied German History, I was impressed with the accuracy of the details and German vocabulary. It deals with mature content, so I would recommend it for adults and older teens. I was absorbed by the storyline and the characters and couldn't wait to find out what was next. I will be looking forward to reading more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SteveRGSG More than 1 year ago
This book was like an adult Hunger Games, or Divergent. Let me Explain. My daughter has read both of those stories about a dystopian society. They are heavy on teen angst. This book takes you back in time to an imaginary time based on real world historic events, but the worries are more adult worries. You would think that the book was mostly about people that were infected and effected by the plague, but it is more about a group of people that are not treated fairly by society and how they survive (if they survive). The ending was great. Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago