The Devils Diadem
Harper Voyager, Jul 26 2011, $26.99
In the twelfth century, minor noblewoman Lady Maeb Langtofte feels fortunate that she obtained a position as a Lady-in-Waiting to the kind pious matriarch of the powerful Earldom of Pengraic, Lady Adelie. Maeb likes her caring employer but fears Adelie’s secretive spouse.
Rumors fly that the continent is trapped in hell’s inferno which is affirmed rather quickly when the Black Death Plague sweeps into England. The gossip inside of the House of Pengraic is that victims abruptly combust into flames as the Devil claims their souls. At the same time King Edmond orders his earls to come to London with their armies while his kingdom plunges into demonic chaos. Obeying his Highness’ edict, Pengraic leaves behind his frightened household to deal with the plague and a visitor from Hell seeking a stolen treasure.
The Devil’s Diadem is an entertaining alternate historical fantasy that deploys the Black Death as a supernatural demonic deadly disease. Maeb is an intriguing protagonist who goes from the fearful Perils of Pauline person to a courageous Joan of Arc heroine. Her other metamorphosis from a nonentity mom into a siren no male can resist detracts from an otherwise enjoyable paranormal retelling of the demonic plague.