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Read an extract from Karen Maitland’s THE VANISHING WITCH

Posted on: 06/03/2017 with tags: extract, historical fiction, historical novel, karen maitland, Poppet, the vanishing witch, Witch, Medieval, Middle Ages

Using the rake to scrape back the soiled straw down to the beaten-earth floor below, Adam threw the sodden tunic into the hole, then heaped the straw back over it. He’d only just finished when Leonia slipped back inside and brought out a folded tunic from under her skirts. He held out his hands for it, but she shook her head. ‘Let me look at your back first.’ ‘No!’ ‘Don’t be silly, I know you’ve been whipped. Marks are all round your sides. I only want to see if they’ve stopped bleeding. If they…

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Ghost Ships and the End of the World by Karen Maitland

Posted on: 31/10/2016 with tags: Ghost Ships, halloween, karen maitland, Middle Ages, The Plague Charmer, vikings, Medieval, Middle Ages

Since ancient times, the sea has meant life for coastal communities of the British Isles, providing food, salt and even driftwood for building our homes and heating them. But we always have feared the sea too, not just for its own destructive power, but for the ships that sail on it bringing bloodthirsty pirates and warriors like the Saxons and Vikings to loot, rape and slaughter. But many of these early invaders settled and their mythology became part of our folklore which continues even to thi…

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Karen Maitland introduces THE PLAGUE CHARMER

Posted on: 03/10/2016 with tags: historical fiction, historical novel, karen maitland, Medieval, medieval england, medieval history, plague, Medieval

My new novel is set in 1361 when the Black Death swept across England for the second time. When it first struck in 1348, the plague had seemed like the end of the world, but when it returned it just thirteen years later it was with a far more cruel and devastating twist. It is strange how ideas come together to create a novel. I was watching the news about Ebola when the reporter turned to the camera and asked a simple, but chilling, question – what would you do to save the lives of those you lo…

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Ten Cunning Methods of Poisoning by Karen Maitland

Posted on: 17/08/2016 with tags: author blog piece, karen maitland, poison, Wicked Children, Medieval, Tudor

The obvious method of poisoning someone was to add the toxin to the victim’s food or drink, but it was not always possible, especially when the rich and powerful employed food tasters and the poisoner might not have access to the kitchens or if he did, would immediately be suspected. So the successful poisoners of history had to come up more ingenious ways to get the poison into their victims. Killing Ointment – This was made from arsenic, vitriol, baby’s fat, bat’s blood and hemlock and was int…

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