In this sequel to The Last Hours, people of the quarantined English town of Develish question whether they are the only survivors of the Black Death sweeping the country and where they will find safety once their resources run out. So their mistress Lady Anne joins forces with an educated serf named Thaddeus on a plan to secure her people's future.
The action starts early and keeps going. Walters, a maestra of plot and pace, includes highway robbery, medieval abortifacients, and a locked room full of starving women and children on the road to the book's high-stakes denouément. If you want to read The Turn of Midnight simply as a medieval thriller, feel free. However, Walters knows there's more. From the conversations between characters to the way she constructs scenes, pitting wrongheaded and status quo-loving dinosaurs against compassionate, reason-seeking types, it's clear that the author understands the connections between a dark time from the past and the dark times of our present age ... The Turn of Midnight absolutely works as a mystery novel, one in which the villain is the Black Death.
Meticulously researched, Walters's novel brilliantly depicts the lives of serfs, soldiers, nobility, and clergy and the roles they played in medieval European history, as well as the devastation caused by the loss of so many people.
The Last Hours (2018)...is a required read for understanding this novel’s character arcs. Lady Anne, possessing an admirable disposition and intellect, is an engaging character. She’s improbably forward-thinking for her time; however, likewise the educated Thurkell, who protects Develish’s inhabitants through proper hygiene, quarantine, and the destruction of plague-carrying vermin (both rats and fleas). Open espousal of socialism in a feudal society, Lady Anne’s enlightened (for its time, heretical) views on religion, and Thurkell’s class-equality goals for his fellow serfs are all decidedly modern, requiring a hearty dose of disbelief suspension. Walters’ slow-moving story culminates in a happy ending worthy of a historical romance.