Bestselling author Sara Douglass—acclaimed writer of the Axis and Wayfarer Redemption trilogies—invites you to visit a twelfth-century England very similar to our own—except this England is a country on the brink of demonic disaster and its only hope may lie with a young noblewoman
The Devil’s Diadem
Maeb Langtofte is lucky, she knows, to have gained a position in the household of the Earl of Pengraic—one of the most powerful men in England, a man whose holdings rival even King Edmond’s. She is lucky that his wife, Adelie, whom Maeb serves, is a kind, pious woman (in contrast to the Earl, whom Maeb finds dark and secretive). But when word arrives that a plague is sweeping through Europe like a human wildfire, everyone in the Earl’s household is put on edge. It is whispered that victims of this plague are spontaneously engulfed in flames—as if the flames of Hell had suddenly leapt up to claim them. It is also whispered that the Devil himself is to blame.
As the disease spreads into England, so too does civil unrest. King Edmond calls his lords and their armies to return to London, and the Earl obeys, leaving Maeb and his family to fend for themselves. But it turns out that the Earl has been hiding far more than simple state secrets, and that his family, left alone, is at risk of losing not only their lives but also their souls. To her horror, Maeb will learn that, indeed, the Devil himself may have arrived on her doorstep. And worse, what he demands may, in fact, be running through her very veins.
This stand-alone novel by Sara Douglass gives a fantasy back-story to the plague. As she often does with her heroes and heroines, Douglass creates an appealing character with some fatal flaws in the character of Maeb--flaws important enough to twist the story and keep it interesting. i did find myself putting the book down about 3/4 of the way through as the plot twists ( even for fantasy) were a little too contrived, but when I picked it back up I didn't mind the epiogue wrap up that placed the characters at the end of their stories. An enjoyable read.read more
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Douglass (The Infinity Gate) immerses the reader in a fully realized medieval world where the supernatural is taken for granted, but her story falls short. Maeb Langtofte inherited a noble name and not much else from her father. Her hopes of a secure future rest on serving as a lady-in-waiting to the house of Pengraic, but her place is imperiled by a devastating plague and Maeb's mutual attraction with the earl's son. Maeb must balance her desires and others' agendas, at the risk of her life and the lives of those she cares for. Unfortunately, the singular heroine gradually becomes a Mary Sue-style caricature: practically every man she encounters falls for her-even her own son praises her sexual attractiveness-and she alone survives an otherwise invariably fatal illness. This regrettable transformation costs the story much of its plausibility and charm. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.