Guest post by historical fantasy writer Roberto Calas.
My newest novel, The Scourge, is a Kindle Serial about
perseverance in the face of horrifying, throat-shredding, flesh-eating
adversity. But to truly get into the spirit of the novel, let’s go back in
You are a medieval peasant in 14th century
England. You can’t read. Your education is based on the bible and the various
folk superstitions of your region.
One day, you see your neighbor staggering toward you,
moaning and disoriented. His skin has turned black and he is covered in weeping
sores. His face is a mélange of blood and muck. The skin around his head and
neck has split so that you can see the bones underneath.
Oh, and he stinks like he has been dead for years.
Remember, your only education is the bible, and a couple of
whacks with a shovel from mom when you get out of line. So what do you see? A
demon from hell? The dead walking the
The plague must have been terrifying to witness. And when it
was finally identified as a sickness, it was only natural to think that God was
punishing the wicked.
But what happens when the sickness strikes even the devout?
What happens when bishops pass laws allowing common men and women to give last rights because so many
priests have died? When entire towns cease to exist because everyone in them
has died. Would you wonder if God had abandoned mankind?
Yeah, the days of the Black Death were not happy ones.
I tried to channel some of that despair, some of that
hopelessness, and some of that bewilderment in The Scourge. But I also tried to keep hope alive for my three
knights, despite the fact that the victims of the new plague are maddened and
have developed a taste for blood and flesh. (And, oddly, mint.)
There always has to be hope, doesn’t there? A silver lining.
The Black Death ultimately led to some great advancements in Europe. The class
system decayed, there were new innovations in medicine, and agricultural
Then again, the knights of the 14th century don’t have the luxury of another seven hundred years of
advancement. For them, hope is merely survival.--Roberto Calas