Synopsis: September 1625: Plague cart driver, Matthew Kneave, is sent to pick up the corpse of a baby. Yet, on the way to the plague pit, he hears a cry – the baby is alive. A plague child himself, and now immune from the disease, Matthew decides to raise it as his own.
Fifteen years on, Matthew’s son Tom is apprenticed to a printer in the City. Somebody is interested in him and is keen to turn him into a gentleman. He is even given an education. But Tom is unaware that he has a benefactor and soon he discovers that someone else is determined to kill him.
The civil war divides families, yet Tom is divided in himself. Devil or saint? Royalist or radicalist? He is at the bottom of the social ladder, yet soon finds himself within reach of a great estate – one which he must give up to be with the girl he loves.
Title: Plague Child
Author: Peter Ransley
Publisher: Harper Press
I am 25 and I managed to get the mumps; it’s a strange and unfortunate event that has taken over a week of my life. Whilst recovering, and by that I mean whilst imprisoned in my bed; I decided to cheer myself up by reading this, Plague Child. Blame my sense of humour, but it seemed fitting at the time.
Disappointingly, not much of it was about the plague. I expected gruesome and gory and got civil war and inheritance debates. Hmm…
Despite my initial disappointment, Plague Child is an OK read. It’s relatively entertaining, even though the plot wasn’t the most original – bastard son grows up to reclaim his honour and gain a title – yawn!
Another issue I had was that the novel could easily have been cut by 100 pages without affecting the story. Ransley seems to have dragged out the most basic scenes for as long as humanely possible for no reason other than meeting a page quota.
Plague Child is not something that I would recommend, I think there are historical novels with similar plots that do it better. Only two stars for this one.