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Plaguewalker Paperback – May 17, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Gemma Tarlach has been, among other things, a journalist, a diplomat, and a pastry chef. She has lived on four continents and traveled through the other three. Wherever she wanders, writing has been the one constant in her life. Gemma began researching the story that would ultimately become Plaguewalker while living in Bavaria in the early 1990s. It would be the first novel she wrote that was inspired by her travels. She is currently at work on the final draft of a fantasy novel, The War’s End, and its sequel, The Guardian. Like Plaguewalker, both novels involve a great deal of walking in the cold, one of her favorite pastimes and the place where she hears her characters best. Perhaps not coincidentally, Gemma currently lives and works at McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica. Tales about her experiences there, as well as other travels through the Southern Hemisphere, can be found at storiesthataretrue.wordpress.com.
Top customer reviews
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Tarlach pulls no punches in writing about the gruesome life of an executioner, nor about the effects of the plague. She never stoops to sentimentality, and the redemption that Marcus finds is nothing that most readers would expect it to look like. It's rather like a stone finding redemption for having been an agent of death in someone's hands. Marcus is the product of a violent, superstitious culture who somehow manages, through suffering and the trust of one person, to become something different than his fate decreed.
This is a short, spare novel, written with great skill. I was spellbound from beginning to end.
Her Marcus knows nothing of normal life until the plague and his errant daughter force him into the light. Along the way he is helped by a capable young girl who has also been touched by death but who has grown stronger for it.
Tarlach has told her story well. She gives readers enough detail to feel the brutality and superstition of medieval Germany without getting pedantic or bogged down by it.
It's hard to put this book down.
I'd love the see the same story, told from the side of the protagonist's companions.