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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC WAL New books
Horseheads Free Library 1 FICTION New books
Penn Yan Public Library 1 F WALTERS New books

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When the Black Death enters England through the port in Dorsetshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is--or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness.

But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from the manor when news of this pestilence reaches her, she looks for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. She decides to bring her serfs inside the safety of the moat that surrounds her manor house, then refuses entry to anyone else, even her husband.

Lady Anne makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband's steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs...until food stocks run low. The nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat again?

Compelling and suspenseful, The Last Hours is a riveting tale of human ingenuity and endurance set against the worst pandemic in history. In Lady Anne of Develish--leader, savior, heretic--Walters has created her most memorable heroine to date.

Author Notes

British mystery writer Minette Walters began her literary career as a sub-editor at a romance publishing company. She wrote short stories and romance novels for a time before turning to writing mysteries.

Her first mystery novel, The Ice House (1992), won the John Creasy Award for Best First Novel. Later novels have also been award winners. Scold's Bridle won a CWA Gold Dagger and The Sculptress (which was made into a BBC television play) won an Edgar Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

When a strange illness decimates the countryside in her husband's absence, Lady Anne of Develish is determined to do whatever she must to protect her serfs. Despite the Black Death's horrors, Anne is pleased to have the opportunity to enact the compassionate policies she has long favored. Her spoiled daughter Eleanor threatens the community's safety at every turn, however, and faithful steward Thaddeus must soon lead the manor's young sons into the dangerous world in search of crucial supplies. Edgar Award-winning author Walters (The Sculptress) is a well-respected crime writer, but her first full foray into historical fiction (after A Dreadful Murder) is disappointing. Lady Anne and Thaddeus hold blatantly anachronistic views that will irk historical purists, and the portrayal of both protagonists as perfect and almost universally adored quickly grows tiresome. Thanks to the characters' early withdrawal to inside the manor walls, the plague itself mostly takes its toll offstage, rendering the story much less exciting, and an abrupt cliff-hanger ending after more than 500 pages is more frustrating than suspenseful. -VERDICT Readers looking for gripping novels about the Black Plague would do better to pick up Ken Follett's World Without End or Connie Willis's The Doomsday Book.-Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign P.L., IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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