This book is set in 1348 when the black plague was beginning to grip Great Britain. Camelot, a relic seller decides to try and outrun the plague by going north. Along the way he joined by eight strangers until the make a party of nine.
Each of the characters have their own story to tell and a sense of mystery around them. These range from Camelot, how did he get those scars to the silent child Narigorm.
Before long it becomes clear that each of these strangers have a secret and nobody seems to be what they say they are.
Each of the characters in this book are given their own identity and with so many characters i felt that Karen Maitland showed excellent skill as a writer. As a reader I was worried at the beginning of the novel that the story would become to complicated with all these different stories. However I was pleasantly surprised as all the characters fitted in with the story.
I particularly loved the historical detail within the book and did feel that I got a sense of what the black plague was like in England in 1348. Maitland portrayed the superstition and mistrust of the time excellently.
All the way through this book I felt a deep connection with all the characters. I felt hatred for some characters and love for others.
The final chapter of the book was a little disappointing. The twist in the final chapter was a surprise but I felt there could of been a better overall ending. Throughout the novel Maitland shows how easy it is for peoples fear to control their everyday actions.
I liked that nothing was given away throughout the novel about the secret that was revealed at the end. This was a book that kept me hooked to the very end and I would recommend this novel as a must read.