Troubador Peak Plague Mystery

Released: 28/03/2020

ISBN: 9781838594596

eISBN: 9781838598389

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Peak Plague Mystery

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From the sixth century plague of Justinian, to the nineteenth century third pandemic, bacterial infection throughout the centuries has caused a huge loss of the population of Europe and beyond. This is a new tale of the discovery of a killer bacterial disease, one which is immune to antibiotics.

An innocent girl discovers a secret, but there’s one that’s bigger than she knows, a secret that causes her to lose her life. After her death, portrayed by the authorities as a tragic accident at a North Derbyshire school, Adam Brant his twin sister Chloe and two close friends Adele and Jonathan are witnesses to a second horrific incident.

Adam becomes obsessed and is driven by his inquisitive nature on a quest for knowledge and truth, one that will satisfy him and put to rest the spirit that is said to haunt this particular community. But what will he learn along the way – and will he wish he’d never set foot on this path?

Peak Plague Mystery by S.A. Fearn is young adult novel is an educational medical murder mystery. The story begins with Dr Benec Kovac, a physician who felt that he was doing work that would be responsible for saving thousands of lives throughout the world. He may be doing great work, but he is unethically and illegally conducting medical experiments on humans without their knowledge. Rebecca Johnson is a student attending High Peak High School. She discovers unwittingly discovers a secret and she later mysteriously dies in a fire. Was the fire an accident, suicide, or did someone kill Rebecca? Five years later, a group of students arrive at High Peak and are almost immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding Rebecca. Some people feel that Rebecca may be a ghost and the students are eager to find out what really happened to Rebecca. While solving the mystery, the students will uncover the truth about what s happening at High Peak.

I freely admit that there were times where I felt like I was reading a science textbook as I found out information about bacteria, viruses, pathogens, bacteriophages, and phage therapy. Some of these I have never even heard of before reading this book. I also learned some information about brilliant scientists who were on the cutting edge of medicine and how viruses are excellent natural destroyers of some bacteria without the use of antibiotics. I'm a bit on the nerdy side, so I was interested to learn this information. However, it was still a bit much and there were times where I felt like I was back in high school or in an introductory class in college.

Overall, I did like this story, but it felt a bit clunky to me. It definitely felt more like a textbook in some places and that I was doing an assigned reading . I actually think it might be useful for high school science teachers to use with a class learning about the body's defenses against bacterial infections. It really was quite fascinating. With that being said, I wish there was more mystery and less science.

by Michelle


Peak Plague Mystery intrigued me. With the news and our lives now in the grip of covid-19, a story about viruses in nearby Derbyshire strangely appealed to me. Aimed at the teenage market SA Fearn has produced a book that is quite relevant today.

Peak Park Academy is a school set in the heart of Derbyshire’s dales. It’s unusual that it only ever houses one year, the rest are split over Derbyshire. As the students can’t get home at night then it’s a boarding school. Included in its grounds are an outdoor centre and a health centre, both of which play prominent roles in the story.

The main body of the story takes place in a week at the end of the summer term when Park school (another year group school) arrive for end of year activities. Five years before a girl died mysteriously in a fire. A group of students become curious as to why she died.

Peak Plague Mystery is a decent book. The story is excellent and a great introduction to viral therapy. SA Fearn is a person who obviously knows his stuff. However, at times the world they live in doesn’t seem quite real. At times it feels more seventies than the present day. However as I say the story is excellent.

A good solid read, especially for the weird times we live in.

by Shaun


I'm a morbid soul and the current pandemic has made me want to read more books about plagues and pandemics, not less, so this was very timely and apposite for me. I ended up loving this engaging, intelligent medical murder mystery which draws on virology and bacteriology as clues to main plot. The author clearly knows her subject - I'm a hobbyist when it comes to epidemiology (yes I'm enough of a nerd that I read that stuff for fun even though my biology degree is now two decades old) - but she blends it well with a genuine mystery thriller and some very plausible plot. The characters were engaging and the pace was good. Recommend for fans of PintipDunn's Maelys and Emily Suvada's This Mortal Coil or anyone who enjoyed Mira Grant's Newsflesh series.

by Jules


I Enjoyed everything about this book there was nothing I didn't like about the book. I Would recommend this book to anyone .I would gladly reread it again. I like the story that was being told.

by Nicole


This story appealed to me because it's one of the very, very few set in my home county (not one of the home counties!) in England. I'm not talking about books that mention Derbyshire. Jane Austen seemed to have a fondness for it, and Chatsworth House, in central Derbyshire, is often used as an outdoor reference for a country manor in those period films. The only other novel I can ever recall reading was one I read years ago about vampires. This one is nothing like that, although it deals with something quite deadly, and very real: something that's popularly known as Bubonic plague, although it can surface in two other forms, or simply, The Black Death!

Contrary to popular perception, this plague did not die out in Medieval times. It's still very much alive and well. Over a thousand people get the plague every year. Just last year (2019 as this is written) two people died of Pneumonic plague in Mongolia. At least since the year 2000, there have been cases every year in the USA. Derbyshire had its very own outbreak at a place called Eyam (pronounced 'eem' which is located in the Derbyshire Dales, close to the area where this novel is set.

To my knowledge it's not been since in Britain since then, but in 1665, Bubonic plague was transported from London on a roll of cloth that was infested by the vector of the disease: fleas. It began to wreak havoc on Eyam. Untreated with antibiotics, plague can have a 60% mortality rate and Eyam wasn't a very large village. It still isn't with a population of around a thousand. The saddest case I think, is that of Elizabeth Hancock. She somehow managed to remain uninfected. Perhaps she had a natural immunity, but her entire family: six children and her husband, died in the space of a week. I've visited their graves.

This novel is set in the Peak District, a beautiful area in the northwest bulge of Derbyshire. Four young friends take an interest in the strange death of a girl who was at the time of their own age, but from a few years before. The death was ruled a suicide, but Adam, his sister Chloe, and their friends Adele and Jonathan start to realize that Rebecca Johnson did not kill herself. She was murdered in a cover-up. Now the four of them are at risk because of what they know!

Call me biased if you like, but I enjoyed this story. It's adventurous, original, educational, engrossing, and I commend it as a worthy read.

by Ian


Simon Fearn

I am 55 years of age and have spent my entire carrier in the construction industry, working on a whole range of schemes from schools, offices, factories to retail developments.

I've always enjoyed writing and over a period of some years I had an idea in my mind, I made notes which amounted to some 20,000 words initially. To help improve my skills I joined a local writing group in Belper, 'White Peak Writers'.

Sadly I lost my wife to Cancer, then two years later I was made redundant from a job I loved. I decided to take some time out and spend quality time with my youngest daughter who was 13 at this point. I sat down to create the story that I'd thought about with my notes for what turned out to be nearly a year, a year I loved.

Hope you enjoy the read, fiction, but the science is real.


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