king death by Paul Finch

Another fine piece of short literature from Spectral Press. link and purchasing here.


Rodric cannot believe his luck during the medieval black plague. He was immune, unlike virtually everyone in the area he wandered – between Cannock Chase and the Welsh border. So he looted with impunity though he theatrically dressed in black armour just in case he met resistance. Of course England wouldn’t be the green and pleasant land in the song, and award-winning author, Paul Finch, steeps us in the stench of rotting bodies, and plays with the retaking of the environment by Nature. To keep us engrossed in the medieval experience we are treated to a wonderful lexicon of the ages: Jongleur, rambraces, rerebraces, miniver, bascinet, seneschal, sokemen, and my favourite – ouches of gold. To save you reaching for there is a glossary bringing up the rear though the context is usually enough to keep you going. Rodric meets a young unnamed lad with the result of more potential riches and yet an undoing. The former servant takes Rodric to his castle and its subjugation from the terrifying plague is described with splendid detail.


Readers might consider some of the tale as overdescriptive and the style could be tightened but it is excused by the beauty of the narrative: ‘The implacable silence was haunting. It was a listening silence, Rodric fancied, an eavesdropping silence…’

There is a wonderful peak in the story’s suspense and it is right at the end. Whether the boy or Rodric is the true king death is up to you.



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2 Responses to “king death by Paul Finch”

  1. New: two King Death reviews « Spectral Press Says:

    […] second review is from Geoff Nelder, who runs the science42fiction blog, but, with his permission, I can quote this one […]

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    […]king death by Paul Finch « science42fiction[…]…

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