The Last Hours

The Last Hours

by Minette Walters


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When the Black Death enters England through the port in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is—or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness.

But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from the manor when news of this pestilence reaches her, she looks for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. She decides to bring her serfs inside the safety of the moat that surrounds her manor house, then refuses entry to anyone else, even her husband.

Lady Anne makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband’s steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs…until food stocks run low. The nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat again?

Compelling and suspenseful, The Last Hours is a riveting tale of human ingenuity and endurance set against the worst pandemic in history. In Lady Anne of Develish—leader, savior, heretic—Walters has created her most memorable heroine to date.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778369318
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Edition description: Original
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 240,595
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Minette Walters is an internationally bestselling author with more than twenty-five million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her suspense has won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best crime novel, the CWA New Blood Dagger for best British debut crime novel, and two CWA Gold Daggers for best British crime novel. She lives in Dorset. The Turn of Midnight is the sequel to The Last Hours, Walters' historical novel about the arrival of the Black Death on England's shore.


Dorchester, Dorset, England

Date of Birth:

September 26, 1949

Place of Birth:

Bishop¿s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England


B.A. in French, Dunelm (Durham University), 1971

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The Last Hours 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Search books Marianne Vincent HomeMy Books Browse ▾ Community ▾ The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) Read My rating: 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars[ 5 of 5 stars ] Preview The Last Hours (Black Death #1) by Minette Walters 3.89 · Rating details · 1,594 Ratings · 386 Reviews June, 1348: the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in the county of Dorsetshire. Unprepared for the virulence of the disease, and the speed with which it spreads, the people of the county start to die in their thousands. In the estate of Develish, Lady Anne takes control of her people's future - including the lives of two hundred bonded serfs. Strong, ...more GET A COPY KoboOnline Stores ▾Book Links ▾ Paperback, 547 pages Published November 2nd 2017 by Allen & Unwin Original TitleThe Last Hours ISBN 1760294985 (ISBN13: 9781760294984) Edition LanguageEnglish SeriesBlack Death #1 Other Editions (17) The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) All Editions | Add a New Edition | Combine ...Less Detailedit details EditMY ACTIVITY Review of ISBN 9781760294984 Rating 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars[ 5 of 5 stars ] Shelves read edit Format Paperback edit Status September 28, 2017 – Finished Reading 8 Show more Review The Last Hours is the eighteenth novel by British author, Minette Walters, and is a departure from her usual genre of crime/psychological thriller: this one is historical fiction. It’s June 1348, and the Plague has just arrived in England. The population is completely unprepared for the devastation this disease will wreak, but a scant few demesnes are better equipped to handle it than most. A Saxon, Lady Anne of Develish in Dorsetshire was raised by nuns; she has been quietly running the demesne in an efficient and compassionate way underneath the radar of her cruel Norman husband. Sir Richard of Develish departs for another demesne to set up his spoilt fourteen-year-old daughter in an advantageous marriage but Gyles Startout, Anne’s informant in Richard’s retinue, soon realises there is a sickness afflicting the nearby village. Potent and virulent, it appears to be something that kills quickly with few survivors. By the time Sir Richard decides to return to Develish, its already too late for many of his party. In response to an announcement from the Bishop of Sarum regarding “A Black Death”, Anne takes the unconventional step of bringing the demesne’s bondsmen to live on the land contained within the moat that Sir Richard had, in his vanity, built as a folly. Her plan to isolate them from the rest of the population is a revolutionary measure that proves to be the salvation of Develish and its serfs. On her husband’s return, she insists on his party being quarantined, a move that angers young Lady Eleanor and also attracts censure from Hugh de Courtesmain, Sir Richard’s Norman steward. As does her later appointment of a serf as Steward. Thus they survive, free of the pestilence, for some months, but how long will they last on the food they have stored? And how will they avoid attack from raiding parties? Then a teenaged boy dies, and Anne’s steward takes drastic action. Walters gives the reader a fascinating look into the mid-fourteenth Century, bringing history to life in what is obviously the product of extensive research. Her characters are complex, human
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
well written account of middle ages and caste system. i could not put this down as i was pulled into the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review.* 4.5 stars rounded up This is my first time reading the author's works and I can say I will definitely be continuing the series. The Story~We follow the lives of Lady Anne and her serfs as they ride out the Black Death behind their walls. It doesn't sound that interesting, but I was so invested in what was going on. I never got bored and at times had to force myself to stop reading so I could cook food and such. I don't know how it could be so compelling to follow these people's daily lives, but it was. There were even unexpected twists to discover. The Characters~I've seen a couple reviews that say the characters are flat and boring. I didn't see that at all. Lady Anne takes the lead when all the serfs are brought inside for protection, and while they respect her, she has plenty of self-doubt which is more visible at the end of the book. Her treatment of the church is curious, since I doubt she has easy access to a Bible. I applaud her patience with Eleanor. Thaddeus is the best man I've seen in forever. He doesn't suffer fools and knows his mind. He has confidence in his capabilities but doesn't have the best bedside manner. My only complaint is perhaps he's too good at stuff with not enough obvious flaws. I hope his last thought of Anne is resolved pronto. Eleanor is the exact opposite of Thaddeus. I couldn't hate her more if I tried. I'd half hoped for a redemption arc, but after what she did and how she constantly thinks, I don't know if that's possible. Hugh is an interesting guy. He wants to align himself with the most powerful but lacks the personal conviction to see the right side. I wonder where he'll end up. The serfs' sons I got kinda mixed up but they developed some under Thaddeus's tutoring. I thought all the people in Develish were solid characters and I can't help but care for them. The Description and Dialogue~I felt completely immersed in the demesne and the surrounding lands. A couple times the more detailed descriptions lost me, but for the most part I had no trouble seeing things clearly. No one sounded modern to me but some of the serfs used vocabulary that seemed a bit above their heads. And sometimes there weren't enough dialogue tags for me to keep track of who was currently speaking. I loved it every time Anne put Hugh in his place or Thaddeus admonished the boys. Overall I enjoyed this book way too much, given its setting. I look forward to seeing where things go in the future book(s).
mweinreich More than 1 year ago
The Black Death was a devastating global epidemic of bubonic plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s. Estimates vary, but the Black Death may have killed one-half of Europe's population, and about 100 million people worldwide. The Last Hours (Black Death, #1) If you love the blend of history with characters of long ago, this book will certainly be one you will be wanting to delve into. The black death, a killer disease, spread through and carried by fleas on rats was the background of this tale. We are introduced to the people who through the foresight and effort of Lady Anne, a brilliant well loved character, strives to save her small village of Develish. Residing in this town, are a cast of wonderful and devilish characters who bring to the reader the full extent of knowledge about the perils of life during this tragic time in Europe' history. Lady Anne's husband is a scoundrel and his ugly deeds catch up to him eventually. Lady Anne had a daughter, Eleanor, with her husband, and she is as devious and cunning as her father, hating her mother and the two hundred or so serfs who live in Develish. In particular, her wrath is directed towards Thaddeus Turkell, a serf whom her mother has placed her faith in and his adventures with other young serfs provides another aspect to the story. It was a frightening time, quarantined from the outside world, unsure of what was happening, the villagers rely on Lady Anne and each other for their support. The village priest is a cur and he is useless to the people, but they eventually learn to rely on their resiliency and will to survive. I so enjoyed this journey into a time that has always fascinated me. The black death decimated the population of Europe. This book provided a wonderful insight into the time that was beyond awful as people succumbed to this disease in a manner that was both painful and horrible. No one was immune. Twenty five million lost their lives, over one hundred million worldwide. I do recommend this book to all those who love historical fiction at its most telling. A caution though, this is the first book and the next will not be out to October of 2018. I can't wait!
CozyOnUp More than 1 year ago
The Black Plague began in 1348 in Medieval England and claimed millions of lives. While we have heard about it in history, this book conveys the story from the perspective the Lord and Serfs of the demesne of Develish. How and why did some survive while others perished? What kept some healthy and free of the sickness? While fiction, you can see that the events portrayed in the book could be an actual account of the one such demesne and its inhabitants. Along with the intrigue and secrets that go on in any community. I look forward to the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will be waiting impatiently for the sequel!