Set against the backdrop of the inescapable horror of the fourteenth-century plague and medieval heroism and chivalry, The First Vial details the morbid reality of a time when the Black Death forced people to take the law into their own hands to survive the wave of chaos that was ushered in.
Katherine, Lady of Crenfeld Castle, pits her wits against the enemies trying to take over her castle. After surviving two attempts on her life by a land-hungry priest, she is forced to leave her castle just as the plague engulfs her village. The villainous priest seizes her lands, convicts the innocent, and burns them at the stake. As the plague rages on, the tension intensifies. Balanced with intrigue and action, The First Vial builds to a feverish pitch as death saturates the country and Katherine must battle not only for her lands and castle but for her life.
Heinrichs’s categorical research into medieval town life, castles, and the Black Death, make the this novel a noteworthy companion to Connie Willis’ Hugo-winning Doomsday Book and clearly mark Heinrichs as a new talent in this genre.
Nominated for the 2006 OLA White Pine Young Readers Choice Award