The first months of London’s Great Plague of 1665 give no hope of any improvement, only an ominous warning of worse to come. Those who can are fleeing the city. Those who can’t – the poor, the old, and a dedicated few – must stay to face the growing danger. The ancient women of the parish of St Cyneswide and St Tibba, the Searchers, Viewers and Keepers, who have weathered the disappearance of one of their own, face further calls on their courage and resilience. The plot against the King simmers, supported by folk of fire and faith, dismissed by others as the work of fanatics. There are those who will stop at nothing and threaten the whole city. But … the parish still finds solace in singing; small children play their joyous, sometimes fractious, street games; and young people find each other. Volume 2 of Plague Searchers – Flee quick, go far – continues this gripping tale with its friendships and feuds, songs and psalms, plots and betrayals.
‘The product of capacious knowledge, a sharp, affectionate eye and a well-tuned ear, this book is a reel through the stinks and miasmas of plague-stricken London in the company of reflective, funny, fatalistic souls from another time entirely, who are also – mysteriously, deliriously – us. This is a classic.’ – Janita Cunnington, author of The River House and Child of Mine
‘The Searchers walk the streets with their red wands, seeking out sufferers of the plague. Rob Wills brings these forgotten women of history to dramatic life in his vast sweep of a novel, full of character and intrigue. If you like Hilary Mantel, you’ll love this.’ – Bronwen Levy, writer and critic