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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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Roast peacock for a medieval Christmas

Posted on: 07/12/2015 with tags: christmas, karen maitland, Medieval, richard II, the raven's head, wassial, Medieval

Karen Maitland, author of The Raven’s Head and The Plague Charmer writes about a typical medieval Christmas banquet… If you’re feverishly shopping for all those meals you’ll have to cook during the extra-long Christmas weekend this year, spare a thought for medieval cooks. In centuries past, Christmas lasted not just two or three days but twelve, from Christmas Day to Epiphany on 6th January. In 1398, after King Richard II remodelled Westminster Hall, originally built in 1097/8 by William the Co…

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Karen Maitland interviewed by SD Sykes

Posted on: 12/11/2015 with tags: company of liars, interview, karen maitland, plagueland, q & a, sd sykes, the butcher bird, the raven's head, the vanishing witch, Medieval

We asked H for History authors SD Sykes and Karen Maitland to interview each other – find out what drew them both to the medieval period, why it continues to fascinate and how it has inspired their writing… Here are Karen’s answers to SD’s questions…   SDS: You write with such energy, truth and feeling about the Middle Ages. What is it specifically that drew you to these times? Have you ever considered writing contemporary novels, or novels set in a different time period? KM: Thank you! Wha…

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