Saturday, December 10, 2016

103:120 The Devil's Diadem by Sara Douglass

It's mid-12th century England and Mistress Maeb Longforte's father, having recently returned from Jerusalem is dead and has left her with nothing but her name and nothing else for a dowry so she enters the household of the Earl of Pengraic to serve as a lady's maid to Lady Adelie.  At 16yr, she is young and so far, untutored in the ways of the court but shortly after arriving a plague breaks out in southern England and while the Earl is helping the King to keep order, the rest of the family tries to move ahead of the plague to Pengraic, a castle in the mountains near Wales.  The plague follows and Maeb soon finds herself embroiled in more politics than she could ever have imagined, especially after the Earl announces that he will take her to wife now that his wife and all his children dead.  However, strange things continue to hound her including the devil's imps and dreams of a golden knight and wolves.  She must figure out what all these things mean if she is to survive.

This book was recommended to me by my favorite local bookstore several years ago and I'm so glad I picked it up.  This is the author's last book as she was writing it while dying but I'm definitely going to go look up some of her other work to read in the future as many reviews say that while this was good, because the other books tended towards series they were much deeper.  I liked the character growth that I saw in this book and the twist at the end was well done and not something that I had in anyway foreseen.  Maeb had more spirit than you would normally think to see in one so young and in such a position and it's interesting to see how she learns but again, how she doesn't.  It made for a more believable character.  There were a few "come on, really" moments but in some ways they do as you find out more through the story.  In all, I really liked it.

Page count: 522p/25,538p ytd/274,695p lifetime

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