For the twentieth anniversary of the Matthew Bartholomew series, Sphere is delighted to reissue the first three books with beautiful new series style covers.Matthew Bartholomew, unorthodox but effective physician to Michaelhouse college in medieval Cambridge, is as worried as anyone about the pestilence that is ravaging Europe and seems to be approaching England But he is distracted by the sudden and inexplicable death of the Master of Michaelhouse a death the University authorities do not want investigated But Matt is determined to get to the truth, leading him into a tangle of lies and intrigue that cause him to question the innocence of his closest friends and even his family just as the Black Death finally arrivesA Plague on Both Your Houses is the book that introduced Matthew Bartholomew to the world A first rate treat for mystery lovers Historical Novels Review Susanna Gregory has an extraordinary ability to conjure up a strong sense of time and place Choice...
|Title||:||A Plague On Both Your Houses: The First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew|
|Publisher||:||Sphere 2 Dezember 2010|
|Number of Pages||:||287 Pages|
|File Size||:||581 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
A Plague On Both Your Houses: The First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew Reviews
I came across Susanna Gregory whilst looking for a new C.J. Sansom (Shardlake) novel. The period matched what I was looking for and whilst waiting for the new Shardlake to come out in paperback I thought I would have nothing to lose!Whilst Matthew Bartholomew is a likeable character he does seem to be a touch naive to fit the "worldly doctor" image Susanna Gregory otherwise portrays. The plot is rather involved and there are few clues for the characters or the reader to draw conclusions from - this made the book rather frustrating :-( On the other hand one is kept in the dark until the end when the baddies get their comeuppance - other readers may prefer this!Not a bad read and the description of the medieval period makes a fine setting for the plot to unfold. Not quite up to C.J. Sansom but I will probably read the next episode of the Matthew Bartholomew series and take it from there (there are 15 to go...).If you are looking for a fun read whilst getting a basic feel for the medieval period you should be safe with this book.
It's one of those books you can read before going asleep. I started with no. 14 and was really entertained. I like the queer characters and the time it's set. Additionally the setting in the very early years of Cambridge is interesting as well.
Cambridge Academic Elizabeth Cruwys uses her nom de plume Susanna Gregory to write a series about 14th century Cambridge physician (albeit educated in Oxford) Matthew Bartholomew. "A Plague on both your houses" is the first chronicle in a series that has grown to 14 chronicles so far.Gregory/Cruwys takes us to Cambridge in 1348, where Bartholomew teaches medicine at Michaelhouse. The Master of Michaelhouse has apparently committed suicide. While Bartholomew refuses to believe in the suicide, more deaths among the scholars occur. He soon gets caught up in a web of intrigue, plots, subplots, rivalry and greed. Everything gets even more complicated when the Black Death arrives at Cambridge...Cruwys/Gregory takes her own sweet time introducing the characters to this series and she does it very well. Bartholomew is a very believable and likeable main character and will be fleshed out perfectly in the following books. He is supported by a great cast of secondary characters in a tight plot. She brings back to live medieval Cambridge very vividly! If you are into rich and descriptive story-telling with a good pacing, the First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew is the book to be on the lookout for!Great groundwork for the series and highly recommendable!
I wanted to like this book, but something was just off or missing. Matthew is a doctor and teaches at the relatively young Cambridge as the Black Death is about to commence. He is a bit unconventional, he likes to wash things like hands and linens, and he doesn't sniff urine, use leeches, or cast astronomical charts to balance humors. As the story opens, the Master of his College is found a suicide dressed as a nun caught up in a water wheel. An old pensioner at the college thinks something is amiss but no one believes his ramblings. Soon he too is dead. More deaths happen but so does the plague. There is a whole stretch in the middle that is really a plague story with little to do with the mystery. The mystery itself is too many plots within plots to really make sense. Not as a story, but as a plausible situation to ever occur.
'A Plague on Both Your Houses: The First Chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew' was not a book I would have chosen to read. My wife downloaded the book onto my Kindle as a Christmas present thinking that I would like it. At first, I wasn't so sure. While she is a big fan of historical mysteries, I am more a fan of historical non-fiction. I'd rather read about the facts as they are known than someone's made up story set in against a historical backdrop; still after some reluctance I gave the book a try.Getting into the book was the hardest part. Chapter One introduced you to Mathew Bartholomew and his world, setting the stage for the rest of the story. Unfortunately, I found that this chapter wasn't very gripping and to me, it felt drawn out and ponderous. One of the problems with the book is the chapter format. Each chapter feels more like a large section that is broken up into sub-chapters. Each subsection is filled with detail and is important to the overall story, however I thought the author could have had written the book with shorter, more succinct chapters that would have moved the story along at a better pace.It was only as I got into Chapter Two and beyond that I started to get interested in the story. Even with the long, drawn out chapters the plot was interesting and the characters were engaging. I soon found myself drawn into the tale and anxious to finish it.Without getting into details, I will say that Mathew Bartholomew is no Cadfael, however he is an interesting character. He is portrayed as a caring, concerned, intelligent scholar living in a time where common sense was in short supply and where superstition and conformity were commonplace. He is not a detective and he is not portrayed as one. In fact, sometimes he comes across as not being the sharpest quill in the college, especially when it is obvious to the reader that he should be doing something other than sleeping when he should be acting. Still, his positive characteristics out way the negative, and the reader finds themselves liking Mathew Bartholomew.The story takes place during the Black Death and this event takes up a good portion of the book, and at times the `mystery' aspect of the book takes a back seat to the historical events. It is nice to see that the author has not made Bartholomew cleverer than the historical norm.Overall, I feel that 'A Plague on Both Your Houses: The First Chronicle Of Matthew Bartholomew' is a good read and I recommend it. As you read it, you will find that the protagonist, Mathew Bartholomew grows on you. In the end, I think you will enjoy this book.
I never really warmed up to the character of Matthew Bartholomew, although he was obviously the good guy. There were way too many peripheral characters and I found it impossible to keep them straight. The conspiracy was confusing. There was a lot of spoken explanation at the end but it didn't really clear things up for me. It was okay, good enough to stick with until the end, but I won't be reading more in the series. I guess this was recommended to me because I enjoy the Matthew Shardlake series, but those books are much, much better than this book.
This is a difficult book in that there are so many characters to keep straight! Most of them are teachers who have taken some form of religious orders and I did not identify with any of them; however, I did find the main character ,Matthew, growing on me during the second half of the book. During this time of medical discovery, most doctors knew that drawing blood with leeches and telling a person's humors by looking at the stars was not going to help the patient . But many doctors still did these things during this time of desperation to earn more money. Matthew stuck to his moral beliefs despite it costing him earnings and patients. I found the historical and medical information to be more interesting than the mystery!The mystery is not well-paced. Clues are laid out nicely in the beginning and then -nothing about the mystery for awhile and the book becomes very slow, and this cycle continues throughout the book. In the end, I would just say the mystery itself is mediocre.I don't know if the series gets better...I would only give book two a try if it fell in my lap,or hopefully on my Kindle, because I needed the Search to keep all of the characters straight.