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Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

The Plague Tales by Ann Benson

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This is the first in a series called the “Plague Trilogy” by Benson. The novels follow a modern surgeon, Janie Crowe, who must re-educate herself as a forensic anthropologist after an apocalyptic transformation of human society caused by rampant and sudden effects of drug-resistant bacteria; a period referred to as, “The Outbreaks.” Through a series of bad timings, Janie unearths a bit more of the past than she anticipates. Benson’s trilogy delightfully provides an insightful parallel story centered on Alejandro Canches, a Sephardic Jewish physician who becomes entangled in both a possible cure for the bubonic plaque of the 14th century, and the equally dangerous court intrigues of the French Pope’s palace in Avignon and Edward III’s Windsor Castle. The action is plenty fast in both the ‘real time’ and parallel stories and compels the thoughtful reader to ponder on our own medical freedoms and dangers.

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