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The Devilís Disciples
Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles, No 14

by Susanna Gregory


  As Cambridge blisters in the hottest summer anybody can remember, people are grimly aware that it is a decade since the Black Death. Reminding them of this fact is a sinister hooded figure newly arrived in town, known as the Sorcerer, who is claiming that the plague is coming again and the devil will save people if they join him. Suddenly, it seems the town has developed a worrisome interest in the occult, and covens are springing up everywhere, with people willing to join. Corpses are found dug up, a body is found in some scrub minus a hand, and there seem to be several more manuals on magic around than there were. Everybody wants to know who the Sorcerer is, and many people seem to think that it is Matt!

Tongue firmly in cheek, here is the fourteenth lively chronicle of University life and it is guaranteed to raise a smile. There are many murders to solve, a house that everybody wants to buy, Cynricís superstitions, Williamís rantings and mysterious strangers in town who could be up to anything. As usual it is a long book (over 400 pages) but carries its length surprisingly well with plenty of incident, humor and a chance to catch up with the loveable characters from Michaelhouse again. Like all good series, the characters and their doings are as much a part of the enjoyment of each book as the cases, and Ms Gregory has created some larger-than-life types that will ensure that this series will run and run. Donít read these to find out what life was like in the Middle Ages - we know witchcraft of all types went on... but as openly as this, with books on Devil worship and covens meeting quite openly? I donít think so, but that does not get in the way of a good story and there is a good story in this book.

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Masterly Murder, No 6     [review]
The Hand of Justice, No 10     [review]
The Mark of a Murderer, No 11     [review]
The Tarnished Chalice, No 12     [review]
To Kill or Cure, No 13     [review]
The Devil’s Disciples, No 14     [review]
A Vein of Deceit, No 15     [review]
The Killer of Pilgrims, No 16     [review]
Mystery in the Minster, No 17     [review]
Murder By The Book, No 18    [review]

The Book

Sphere (Little, Brown)
5 June 2008
Hardback
0751539147
Historical Mystery / 1357 Cambridge, England
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
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