The Mortecarni by Kelly Evans has prologue set in the future that shows the military forcibly entering a church to enable archaeologists to investigate the tomb where Brother Maurice of Montgomery, an early fourteenth-century monk, lies. He has a crucifix with Arabic engraving that refers to a man named Fala. Is it heresy that a Roman Catholic monk should have accepted such a gift? Can the secrets of Brother Maurice’s journal defeat undisclosed troubles that beset the world? Travel with Maurice from Wales to Italy, and onward, until Edward, king of England, asks the pope for help. Brother Maurice is charged with the task of aiding His Majesty, who cannot reveal a deadly danger to more than a select few for fear of shaking the common mans’ belief in the risen Christ.
The Mortecarni is one of the best truly terrifying horror stories I have ever read, and the root of its power lies in the brilliant presentation of ordinary life seven centuries ago. Every detail is accurate, from the food people ate, their clothing and mode of travel, to the medicines available to them and the surgical procedures they undertook. The early part of the book, without the hint of menace planted in the prologue, could be a superb historical novel, but it is so much more: a mystery, a thriller, a story of love… Kelly Evans is a very talented author who has created a dark plague of horror that threatens the world and defies disbelief. It is not a book I shall find easy to forget, or indeed not be tempted to reread.