Sometime since I read something set in Medieval times so this was a good change for me.
Bianca is an unusual woman for her times. A herbalist a profession which can border on the dangerous depending on the mood of the people. She could be branded a witch for which the gallows is the option and so she must be careful of what she says and how she dispenses with her salves and potions. To the despair of her husband John she is also outspoken, easily draws the eye and attention of folk and this is dangerous for both of them.
In the midst of a series of unusual deaths, where the victim turns to being gibberish, to being almost epileptic in their symptoms with no previous disease the population wants an easy victim. From the husband of one, to the simple pastor of a parish who could not do enough to keep a person alive the victims are drawn from all sides - both the victims of the illness as well as those deemed to be guilty of being part of the illness.
Bianca realises earlier on that though isolated and the deaths are physically far apart from each other, the symptoms of death make her look for a common denominator in all. Through a series of deductions this she is able to do. The difficulty for her however is to be believed - a woman's powers of deduction and intelligence are very low rated amongst the chauvinist males of the times and getting her voice heard is going to be very tough.
The characterization of Biana and John was well balanced. One timid and one forthright, the others were typical of their times. Interesting plot as well.
Sent to me by Kensington Books courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.