These books about the Plague are sponsored by Minette Walter’s THE LAST HOURS, which is one of the books on this list.
At first, no one can figure out what kind of sickness the Black Death is. It comes to England in 1348. People become afraid because they think that the plague is punishment for being bad.
Lady Anne of Develish, on the other hand, has some ideas of her own. It’s not a good idea to confess your sins every day when your husband is away from the manor. Instead, she looks for more practical ways to protect her people from this pestilence. Even her husband isn’t allowed into her manor house. She brings the men inside the moat around it, where they’ll be safe.
People in Develish are still alive, but they aren’t as old as before. But how long?
There are a lot of books about the Plague (or black death, as some writers refer to it). Whether you want to learn about academic history or read a fun (though depressing) reinterpretation of the Canterbury Tales, you can find it all here, thanks to me. Work on the Plague is so big that it was hard to narrow it down. Start here, but remember to look through the references in the nonfiction for more good books to read.
Cultures of Plague: Medical Thought At the End of the Renaissance by Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.
Academic: This is a little more in-depth, but it adds a lot of context and credibility when people talk about the Plague. There is a lot of attention paid to how the Plague changed how people got medical care and how the medical field as a whole changed as well.
The Black Death Transformed: Disease and Culture in Early Renaissance Europe by Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.
if you want a well-researched and complicated academic paper, this one is for you. It comes with statistics. There isn’t much that hasn’t been looked into here.
In The Wake of the Plague by Norman Cantor
You still have to read academic nonfiction books like those by Cohn, but this one is a lot easier to read (and shorter) than those books (or just not your cup of tea). First, I read this book about the Plague. I still think it’s a good way to start.
Years of Wonder: A Novel of the Plague by pulitzer prize winning Geraldine Brooks
Besides March, Brooks wrote a book about the plague. Years of Wonder is set in a small English town outside of London. It follows Anna as her community deals with death, superstition, and paranoia, all the while she falls in love with a man named Jack.
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willi
In the past, I have talked about how much I love a good time travel book in my posts. This one isn’t any different. Oxford historians of the future will be able to go back in time to do research thanks to Time Travel technology. Often, this leads them to dangerous places One historian gets lost a short time before the plague comes to the village where she is staying. Her colleagues have to work hard to save her from the plague. All of these things are in one fun package!
A Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
A Company of Liars is a fun twist on the Canterbury Tales, which I love. It’s like they tell stories in the same way, but they’re running away from the plague. This one has a lot of fun stories, as well as a lot of mystery in it.
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, Translated by J. M. Rigg
The Decameron is a lot more than just a story set during the plague, but the plague is the setting this Renaissance writer used to look at meaning and love in a different way. Great if you want to read something that has been around for years and years.
A Journal of the Plague Year by Dufoe
If you look at a Journal of the Plague Year, you’ll see that it isn’t real. A doctor who worked with people who were sick in London during the plague wrote about his (fictional) experiences. It’s a good book.
The Plague Tales by Ann Benson
Plague Tales takes the stories of people who had the bubonic plague and puts them in today’s world. When did the plague come back? Though it’s a story, the premise is very scary! If you want to read something that’s a little more up-to-date, this book is for you.
The World Without End by Ken Follett
The World Without End isn’t just about the plague (or about any one thing, for that matter). It’s a big story that talks about both the 100-year war and the plague.
Marilyn Chase, The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco (Penguin, 2004)
Marilyn Chase, a longtime science reporter for the Wall Street Journal, has written a fascinating account of a bubonic plague outbreak in late Victorian San Francisco. It’s a real-life thriller that’s still relevant today. There was a gold rush in 1900, and the city was at the end of its Gilded Age. The Barbary Plague takes us there. People’s health is a big deal in Chase’s book. He shows how a city beat one of the most frightening and deadly scourges.
James C. Mohr, Plague and Fire: Battling Black Death and the 1900 Burning of Honolulu’s Chinatown (Oxford, 2004)
A little more than a century ago, the same Black Death that wiped out medieval Europe arrived on the shores of Hawaii just as the islands were about to become a part of the United States. This is what happened. As you read James Mohr’s story, you’ll learn about that terrifying visitation and its fiery climax, which was a huge fire that engulfed Honolulu’s Chinatown.
MOHR tells this fascinating story mostly through the eyes of people who were there, from white elites to Chinese doctors and Japanese businessmen. He also tells it through the eyes of Hawaiian reporters. The Honolulu Board of Health, which is made up of three American doctors, is at the heart of the story. When the government gave them full control over the military and the treasury, they became almost dictators.