Friday 9 August 2019

A Discovering Diamonds review of Plague By Jonathan Forth


Recommended to anyone who likes a laugh and a break from figuring out the problems of real history."



14th C
London and Paris

And now for something completely different! Humour is a very personal thing; what makes one person guffaw will leave another shaking their head and saying, “I don't get it”. I have to say at the outset that I laughed a lot, though if the reader is a purist, they may not, as here we have constant anachronisms – especially in dialogue – murderous Popes, revolting peasants with names such as Darren and Clive, noble buffoons, inept angels, a female assassin, a man with the largest codpiece ever and a plot and cast of characters that owe as much to history as does Carry On Cleo. Not to mention a couple of rallying calls such as 'Fake News' and 'Make The Church Great Again'.

But that is the point. Now and again we need to step back from the seriousness of two millennia of world changing events and have a laugh at ourselves.

The plot is quite simple; plague has crossed the channel  by virtue of two rats hiding on a cart containing French Cheese; the Pope (the one in Rome, not France) wants war between the two nations as people are deserting the Church,  (and what better way to bring this about is, of course, to assassinate King Phillipe whilst on a state visit to England) and Sir Walter (he of the impressive codpiece) is charged by King Edward to quell one and prevent the other. Throw in the release of three of the Four Horseman (whilst God was on her holidays) and we have a chortle-filled read, though not suitable for children!

Recommended to anyone who likes a laugh and a break from figuring out the problems of real history. You may even ponder that perhaps, just perhaps, the plague and the Hundred Years War might have actually started the way described here.

© Richard Tearle

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