Nell and her brother George are left alone in the world when their parents die from the pestilence that is ravaging London and all of Europe. But then by chance Nell discovers that she looks exactly like the princess Joan, and she and George are whisked to the royal palace to assist the princess and for Nell to act as a decoy to anyone who might wish to harm her. Two years later, Joan and Nell have become friends, and Nell and George are accompanying Joan to her new home in Spain where her betrothed, the prince of Spain, is awaiting her.
But on their journey, the pestilence strikes, and Joan is taken. Desperate to make the alliance between the two countries still, Joan's brother, the Black Prince, forces Nell to assume the role of the princess. Fearful of both The Black Prince and the plague, Nell and George flee, unwilling to be a part of The Black Prince's plot. But they will have to evade much more than just the plague in order to survive...
The Plague is an interesting and rather different take on the lives of two young people affected by the plague in the year 1348. One element of Dahme's writing that stands out the most is the gritty, harsh description of the land that is the reality of a country consumed by the pestilence and overrun by grime and pests, which lends an air of authenticity to the entire book. Dahme's plot line also offers a more adventurous look at the times, which does its job at drawing readers in, and the superstitious slant propels The Plague along, leaving readers hanging in suspense. However, the occasional anachronisms and slightly unbelievable plot secure The Plague's status as a more adventurous novel meant to entertain more than give a serious look at the struggles of the people in that time, and teens looking for a more introspective look at the time of the plague may want to look up Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders as well. Despite this, The Plague is a unique and engrossing read with admirable characters and possess a good, even pace that will even entice the reluctant reader. This is one to stick on the wish list.
The Plague will be released in May.