Tuesday, March 17, 2020

We All Fall Down - a pandemic anthology

Greetings, commies!
If you are sick and tired of reading about COVID19 in the news, switch gears and read about a different pandemic that was a lot deadlier than the one we are facing now. We All Fall Down is an anthology of stories revolving around the plague epidemic in Europe, featuring some of the most eloquent indie voices in historical fiction. You may recognize some of these names!

Plague has no favorites.
In this anthology, USA Today, international bestselling, and award-winning authors imagine a world where anyone—rich, poor, young, old—might be well in the morning and dead by sundown.
Readers will follow in the footsteps of those who fought to rebuild shattered lives as the plague left desolation in its wake.
* An Irish woman tends her dying father while the Normans threaten her life and property—
* A Hispano-Muslim doctor fights the authorities to stem the spread of the deadly pestilence at great personal cost—
* A Tuscan street hawker and a fresco painter watch citizens perish all around them even as they paint a better future—
* A Spanish noblewoman lives at the mercy of a jealous queen after plague kills the king—
* The Black Death leaves an uncertain legacy to Dante's son—
* In Venice, the artist Titian agonizes over a death in obscurity—
* A Scottish thief loses everything to plague and repents in the hope of preventing more losses—
* Two teenagers from 2020 time-travel to plague-stricken London and are forever changed—
* And when death rules in Ottoman-occupied Greece, a Turk decides his own fate. 
Nine tales bound together by humanity's fortitude in the face of despair: a powerful collection of stories for our own time.

My thoughts
I am surprised that more reviewers did not mention the fact that the release of this anthology coincided with the corona pandemic. Perhaps, the Black Death is the last thing people want to read about. Toilet paper hoarders will probably feel a little ashamed. Even the title of the anthology is "We All Fall Down", taken from an English folk song, the message of the anthology is about rising up. I am already familiar with most of the contributors to the anthology, having followed their other works in various historical fiction groups. This anthology serves a dual purpose. In addition to giving you a collection of delectably literary yet readable stories about a particular tragic even in European history, it gives you a sample of each author's writing. If you haven't read their novel length works, maybe the short stories in this anthology will whet your appetite. This is what a pandemic looked like before globalization and social media, before diagnostic and curative advancements. That should put things in perspective. 

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