Book Review – A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland

A Gathering of Ghosts

A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland is a historical fiction novel with dark fantasy elements. Set in the wilds of Dartmoor in the year 1316, the story centres around the isolated Priory of St. Mary, home to the Sisters of the Knights of St. John. At this priory, led by Prioress Johanne, they see to the infirmed who are in need of care, as well as provide shelter for pilgrims and other travelers making their way across the hazardous countryside. Their main attraction is the healing well that sits in a cave beneath their chapel, once associated with a pagan goddess but now dedicated to Saint Mary, which brings them many visitors from near and far.

With the country at large gripped by the Great Famine and tin miners ravaging the moorland for its precious ore nearby, everybody is feeling the strain as desperate times become worse and worse, including heavy rains that seem unending. The arrival of three strangers to Dartmoor—a knight, a blind child, and a woman with a withered arm—only seems to make matters worse, as soon after their arrival the holy well is beset upon by uncanny plagues.Read More »

Book Review – Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Into the Unbounded Night is an upcoming historical fiction novel by Mitchell James Kaplan. Set in the first century Roman Empire, the story follows a myriad of characters from different walks of life and cultures. The most prominent perspective character is Aislin, a young woman native to Albion (Britain) during the Roman conquest of her land, who becomes a refugee as a result. Second to her point of view is Yohanan son of Zakkai, a studious and thoughtful young Judaean man living in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who philosophically struggles with keeping to the traditions of his faith and respecting the institution of the Temple, which seems more concerned with pleasing their Roman overlords. Other characters include a disgraced Roman soldier turned artist, the Roman general Vespasian, and the condemned angel Azazel.Read More »