Contrary to popular belief, I am not an especially gruesome person. When people look at me in horror – like when I describe proper impalement (see novel: ‘Vlad, The Last Confession’) or the actual conditions on a slave galley. (See: ‘The French Executioner‘). I tell them that its just part of the job. Doesn’t put me off my supper.
I have to admit though that my latest novel, PLAGUE (Click on title to learn more. If you dare) did push a few boundaries. Some of the stuff that went on! Having to imagine what it was like to have the plague – bad enough. But then the treatments!
Imagine you had it. The so-called doctors – there’s one there, if a century out, same costume though – would arrive and this bird like horror creature would loom over you and inspect your bubo (remember: bubo -nic plague) This often looked like a black tennis ball, a swelling of your lymph glands that would thrust out, especially at armpit or groin. It was stretched skin and flesh, so distended and painful you didn’t want anyone looking at it, let alone touching it. Yet what does our quack do? (You can see where the term comes from with that mask!) He doesn’t just touch it. Oh no. He scarifies it. To draw forth the poisons, he slashes it with a razor, or pours acid on it – the tenderest piece of flesh on your body!
Happily for most the pain didn’t last long. Because the treatment killed you.
So, Thanks, Muse! I now have that in my head. Still, I have one consolation: now you do too!