by Karen Maitland, Karen Maitland
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Amazon Editorial Review
From the author of Company of Liars, hailed as âa jewel of a medieval mysteryâ* and âan atmospheric tale of treachery and magic,â** comes a magnificent new novel of an embattled village and a group of courageous women who are set
on a collision courseâin an unforgettable storm of secrets, lust, and rage.
England, 1321. The tiny village of Ulewic teeters between survival and destruction, faith and doubt, God and demons. For shadowing the villagersâ lives are men cloaked in masks and secrecy, ruling with violence, intimidation, and terrifying fiery rites: the Owl Masters.
But another force is touching Ulewicâa newly formed community built and served only by women. Called a beguinage, it is a safe harbor of service and faith in defiance of the all-powerful Church.
Behind the walls of this sanctuary, women have gathered from all walks of life: a skilled physician, a towering former prostitute, a cook, a local convert. But life in Ulewic is growing more dangerous with each passing day. The women are the subject of rumors, envy, scorn, and furyâ¦until the daughter of Ulewicâs most powerful man is cast out of her home and accepted into the beguinageâand battle lines are drawn.
Into this drama are swept innocents and conspirators: a parish priest trying to save himself from his own sinsâ¦a village teenager, pregnant and terrifiedâ¦a woman once on the verge of sainthood, now cast out of the Church.â¦With Ulewic ravaged by flood and disease, and with villagers driven by fear, a secret inside the beguinage will draw the desperate and the depravedâuntil masks are dropped, faith is testedâ¦and every lie is exposed.
*New York Times Book Review
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