NEW BOOK! When plague threatens, where is faith?

Share on

What might happen if modern medicine fails?
Effects of devastating disease on society
Its impact on Christian art
The power of faith, art and healing
Hope and strength in adversity
Vividly illustrates medieval life, faith and disease

Each morning we awaken to hear that the deadly Covid-19 virus has continued to spread, not just within China but now to various countries including the United Kingdom. Declared by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency of international concern,[1] what not so long ago was a crisis far away has now arrived on our doorstep. Often seen as the stuff of science fiction, out-of-control lethal viruses are beginning to occur with concerning regularity. They are, of course, nothing new when we reflect on history and how, for example, the fourteenth-century Black Death wiped out millions of people.

This is the medieval, historical setting for Andrea Sarginson’s debut novel Man of Glass, Aimed at young adults and set in East Yorkshire, it is a chilling reminder of what happened in the past when bacteria and viruses were less well understood and spread uncontrollably. Written by an experienced nurse and art historian, it brings history vividly and accurately to life.

As rumours of a terrible plague reach gifted young glazing apprentice Amalric’s town, he dreads its arrival and despairs of the Church’s response and his village’s rampant superstition – but even he cannot deny the ominous portents that seem to abound. When the gruesome pestilence at last comes to Warren Horesby and neighbouring Meaux Abbey, Amalric and his family are blamed. Exposed to brutal recrimination, he is horribly injured in a vicious assault. Suddenly his survival depends on the care of a shy servant girl and the improbable support of the village priest and a newly qualified doctor of physic with pioneering ideas. Can the village ever come to terms with the ravages of the plague? Can Amalric still hope to honour his family and fulfil his talent? And could there ever be hope for love?

Andrea Sarginson says, ‘I feel that I have written about what might have been. After all, who knows about the life of someone buried so long ago in a village church graveyard when records were seldom kept. Who made the stained-glass windows of the fourteenth century? How did the ordinary person with only the basic traditional healing methods react to the symptoms of the devastating pestilence? What was it like to be a doctor unable to help? Who knows how a local priest reacted to their community – was their faith challenged? Did they love their flock and die with them or walk away?’


Man of Glass by Andrea Sarginson (ISBN: 9781912726189) is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 20th February 2020 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Fiction, 304pp, £8.99.


  • Andrea Sarginson

    Andrea lives in Greater Manchester and since 2012 has been an Authorised Lay Minister in the Manchester Diocese. She first trained as a nurse, midwife and operating theatre nurse teacher, and later as an art historian with interests in Christian art and stained glass.

  • Man of Glass

    Andrea Sarginson

    It’s spring 1349 and a terrible plague is spreading like wildfire across England. Dreading its arrival, gifted young glazing apprentice Amalric despairs of the Church’s response and his village’s rampant superstition – but even he cannot deny the ominous portents that seem to abound...