Year of Wonders
1a Novel of the Plague
Publication Date: June 2001
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"Year of Wonders" is historical fiction of the highest order--absolutely convincing in its period detail, filled with full-blooded characters who arouse one's deepest empathy, and driven by a story of striking immediacy. In 1665, the north of England remains untouched by the plague that is ravaging London. Then, in a small, close-knit community of lead miners and hill farmers, a bolt of cloth has no way of knowing that the damp fabric carries within its folds the deadly bubonic infection. Confronted with a scourge beyond remedy or understanding, the villagers turn in desperation to sorcery, herb lore, and murderous witch hunting--to no effect. Finally, led by a young and charismatic preacher, they elect to isolate themselves in a quarantine that may only deepen the tragedy. Told through the eyes of hard-working, inquisitive Anna Firth, who at age 18 must conten"d with the loss of her family and the disintegration of her community, Year of Wonders" explores love and learning, fear and fanaticism, and the struggle of science and religion to interpret the world on the cusp of the modern era.