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Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History

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Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History, by Karen Maitland, author of the much-loved Company of Liars, makes for compulsive reading that will captivate true crime readers and fans of C.J. Sansom and Kate Mosse. 'Imaginative, hideous, irresistible' Sunday Telegraph 'An adult who commits murder usually has some kind of motive we can understand, however twisted, b Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History, by Karen Maitland, author of the much-loved Company of Liars, makes for compulsive reading that will captivate true crime readers and fans of C.J. Sansom and Kate Mosse. 'Imaginative, hideous, irresistible' Sunday Telegraph 'An adult who commits murder usually has some kind of motive we can understand, however twisted, but a child who kills often does it simply because they discover they can - and no one is stopping them.' Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages, has created possibly some of the most wicked children in fiction. From Narigorm, the child rune reader with a penchant for death, from Company of Liars, to the scheming yet devastatingly beautiful Leonia in The Vanishing Witch, they revel in manipulating the world around them - and those foolish enough to cross them. In Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History, Karen Maitland explores some of the real-life cases of dangerous and powerful children which have inspired her own young - but deadly - characters.


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Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History, by Karen Maitland, author of the much-loved Company of Liars, makes for compulsive reading that will captivate true crime readers and fans of C.J. Sansom and Kate Mosse. 'Imaginative, hideous, irresistible' Sunday Telegraph 'An adult who commits murder usually has some kind of motive we can understand, however twisted, b Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History, by Karen Maitland, author of the much-loved Company of Liars, makes for compulsive reading that will captivate true crime readers and fans of C.J. Sansom and Kate Mosse. 'Imaginative, hideous, irresistible' Sunday Telegraph 'An adult who commits murder usually has some kind of motive we can understand, however twisted, but a child who kills often does it simply because they discover they can - and no one is stopping them.' Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages, has created possibly some of the most wicked children in fiction. From Narigorm, the child rune reader with a penchant for death, from Company of Liars, to the scheming yet devastatingly beautiful Leonia in The Vanishing Witch, they revel in manipulating the world around them - and those foolish enough to cross them. In Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History, Karen Maitland explores some of the real-life cases of dangerous and powerful children which have inspired her own young - but deadly - characters.

30 review for Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Malicious Wicked Children by Karen Maitland, is a very interesting and informative piece of work. It is not written as a novel but as a booklet conveying a series of instances and examples of murderous children. It does flow very well and provides some insight into how Karen developed the background and characters to many of her novels. "An adult who commits murder usually has some kind of motive we can understand, however twisted, but a child who kills often does it simply because they disco Malicious Wicked Children by Karen Maitland, is a very interesting and informative piece of work. It is not written as a novel but as a booklet conveying a series of instances and examples of murderous children. It does flow very well and provides some insight into how Karen developed the background and characters to many of her novels. "An adult who commits murder usually has some kind of motive we can understand, however twisted, but a child who kills often does it simply because they discovered they can – and no one is stopping them.” The history of children being responsible for many of the horrendous periods and events in history is quite startling. Karen takes us on an insightful journey through the history of many instances where children, from the child monarchs, to the role children played in the Spanish Inquisition, to the Salem witch trials have caused massive upheaval. It is frightening how the word of a child, and our natural reaction to protect them, can have such manipulated, devastating and immutable outcomes. We have all heard the rhyme "There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead, And when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid.” Just how bad can horrid be? Well, serial killer bad! There are another 2 sections on poisons and their antidotes which again is very enlightening and we realise just how prevalent poisoning was in medieval times. I found the poisons from natural ingredients really interesting and a well-presented coverage in the book. Karen has used many of these insights in her books and they have always provided that little edge of suspense and trepidation. I really enjoyed the book – quick, informative and written by an author that just pleases me with everything she writes. Wicked Children is a short, free, eBook and is well worth a read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    JK

    I feel immensely cheated by this, but unsure whether I have grounds for this feeling. I downloaded this book free from Amazon (hence the hesitation to feel justified in complaining), believing I was due to be regaled by horrendous and murderous acts committed by children in days gone by. I was not allowed this. The incredibly short exploration of youthful murderers of yore was akin to an unengaging piece of research done by a sullen and resistant high school teenager. There was no structure; no d I feel immensely cheated by this, but unsure whether I have grounds for this feeling. I downloaded this book free from Amazon (hence the hesitation to feel justified in complaining), believing I was due to be regaled by horrendous and murderous acts committed by children in days gone by. I was not allowed this. The incredibly short exploration of youthful murderers of yore was akin to an unengaging piece of research done by a sullen and resistant high school teenager. There was no structure; no defining ideas. The various crimes were presented in a wall of text with no breaks, and no clear indication of sections, making it difficult to differentiate between the children, their deeds, and their ultimate fates. I wanted gore, I wanted shocking motive, I wanted crass depictions of utter horror. I’m actually amazed an account such as this could be so dull. After the whistlestop tour of evil kids (if there’s anything quicker than a whistlestop tour, please do let me know, as I should be using that metaphor in this case), we’re given a long list of ways in which poisons were concocted in the past. When you think you’ve finally escaped from the monotonous world of the apothecary, Maitland uses another chapter to drone on about the antidotes to such poisons. I almost skipped back a chapter to see if there was anything in my house with which I could use to harm myself. And finally, the most frustrating aspect of this whole ordeal was the insertion of chapters from a couple of Maitland’s novels. I had no interest in these - I don’t enjoy reading bonus chapters shoehorned into the end of novels - and I’m astounded at the realisation that the entire purpose of this book was to shamelessly sell her other books. I understand promotion, and I’m comfortable with it, but to wade through a load of drivel, in complete confusion, only to be presented with what is effectively an advertisement, is incredibly frustrating. Like watching the first half hour of a horror film before experiencing an eternal power cut.

  3. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Not nearly as long and detailed as I had hoped it would be. Thought it was an book but it’s really only a small grouping of pages that introduces some children and their evil ways. Good thing is one can get this free on your iBooks account so no money wasted.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caro the Helmet Lady

    Just as The Dangerous Art of Alchemy, this was a short intro to another book, The Plague Charmer. In this cute little appendix we get some stories about wicked and murderous kids from a couple of hundreds years ago as well as the top ten list of most popular poisons, together with top ten accompanying antidotes and I kid you not, poisons look just much more of fun and effect to me. Just saying... Short but fun (ehem) read. Just as The Dangerous Art of Alchemy, this was a short intro to another book, The Plague Charmer. In this cute little appendix we get some stories about wicked and murderous kids from a couple of hundreds years ago as well as the top ten list of most popular poisons, together with top ten accompanying antidotes and I kid you not, poisons look just much more of fun and effect to me. Just saying... Short but fun (ehem) read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*

    Ok, so I'm a huge fan of Karen Maitland and I knew this was a short and sweet read. It was free on Amazon and I think it is well worth a read if you're fancying a bit of inside information on Maitlands ideas for her characters and storylines. Firstly, there's a grizzly chapter on the things that medieval kids got up to. From murder and torture, to taking great pleasure in accusing people of witchcraft leading to many a death of innocent folk. Then we get to a rather interesting chapter on poisons Ok, so I'm a huge fan of Karen Maitland and I knew this was a short and sweet read. It was free on Amazon and I think it is well worth a read if you're fancying a bit of inside information on Maitlands ideas for her characters and storylines. Firstly, there's a grizzly chapter on the things that medieval kids got up to. From murder and torture, to taking great pleasure in accusing people of witchcraft leading to many a death of innocent folk. Then we get to a rather interesting chapter on poisons and how they were administered in evil and twisted ways to unsuspecting people. And that, in turn leads to another chapter about antidotes and how to make lotions and potions to prevent or cure. The author then continues with some extracts from two of her novels to whet the appetite, which it certainly did for me. Karen Maitland is definitely 'Queen of the Dark Ages' whose books haven't failed to impress as yet, although I still have a few to get through. In my honest opinion, I can't fault her one iota. 4 star rating, only lacking in a star because I didn't want to read the excerpts and ruin it for myself as I will read more from her without a doubt.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ted Tayler

    "Blatant advert disguised as a book" Let me get this straight. It's acceptable to regurgitate events from history involving children who kill. Then to add a list of poisons and their antidotes, all of which must have appeared somewhere else. Ah, here it is, the real reason for the subterfuge; an excerpt from the new book, plus a quick reminder of the others this author has on offer. No wonder it's free. The sooner Amazon stamp out this practice the better, I reckon.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Highness Atharva

    Wicked Children Through History by Karen Maitland. This is a short ebook that is available free of cost at the Kindle store and is written by Karen Maitland, whom I'm Binge Reading. It's very short and easy to read within a single sitting. But mind you, it is as horrifying as any of the authors other books. So, the book begins with a record of children's presented by author in a fantastic narrative that scares the readers. The author explores the historical crimes committed by juveniles and how t Wicked Children Through History by Karen Maitland. This is a short ebook that is available free of cost at the Kindle store and is written by Karen Maitland, whom I'm Binge Reading. It's very short and easy to read within a single sitting. But mind you, it is as horrifying as any of the authors other books. So, the book begins with a record of children's presented by author in a fantastic narrative that scares the readers. The author explores the historical crimes committed by juveniles and how they killed or instigated elders to kill just for the sake of pleasure and fun. The author makes a point by convincing that the innocent young souls we call children are much much different (were). Many scary events have been presented with dates which seem to be real (or are real, as he author claims). If you don't believe it then dates and names of courts are given. Also included are witchcraft tales, blasphemous accusations and gory murders all committed by young children. Reading this section left me a bit scared. The next section follows brief information about Ten Medieval Poisons and how they can be used effectively. Along with the name of the poison, the author has also provided it's physical description and it's major uses across history to assassinate or murder other people. This is very informative but not really useful in modern times. Next we have Ten Medieval antidotes to Poisons, some of which are still used today. Similarly​ to the preceding sections, this sections shows how to counter various Poisons and it's effect. The ingredients used in it are rare and indigenous. A very informative book which may serve as a reference for all of Maitland's proficient works and the author also explains at the beginning of the book how she has adopter characters for her book from the crimes committed by juveniles and the popular Poisons were actually used in England at a large scale. The book also includes a sample chapter of The Plague Charmers as well as the Vanishing Witch, both of them are Authors works. I would surely recommend this book to anyone who's Binge Reading Karen Maitland. A great reference book to all her works. Nice Reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Always start with a positive: the title is correct! Very wicked children! Not so positive: it was like reading one really long sentence without taking a breath.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chris Orme

    For what this was I enjoyed this. For one it was FREE as a short piece, likely to introduce new readers to author’s work. Which I think definitely is taken into account when reviewing something as base it on the merits of what it is. As long as you don’t for some reason expect a whole book or for some reason had to pay for it (Though if it’s was under £1 I would not complain). It was enjoyable short article on some old ‘killer kids’ not much individual detail but given age of these crimes doubt t For what this was I enjoyed this. For one it was FREE as a short piece, likely to introduce new readers to author’s work. Which I think definitely is taken into account when reviewing something as base it on the merits of what it is. As long as you don’t for some reason expect a whole book or for some reason had to pay for it (Though if it’s was under £1 I would not complain). It was enjoyable short article on some old ‘killer kids’ not much individual detail but given age of these crimes doubt that much exists. It was interesting to read about cases from these times & goes to show all the b******t about violent games/movies corrupting kids for crap that it is (personal opinion there but) as people who commit horrific acts have been around for ever most likely. But as most true Crime shows/books etc. Only go up to Victorian times roughly. Interesting to read something with cases older even if is just a brief essay type article on them. Also get a list of most popular old timey poisons & cures. Also 2 previews of authors full books (did not read these as do not like chapter previews as just end up wanting full thing). This review was probably too long for so short a book but I dunno it irks me when read a bad review complaining about length of a free book. Go in with a proper expectation & you will enjoy it more. It’s like people that give one star reviews to books not read cus they have heard something about it/author or people that give a game a one star review because they did not realise it does not work on console they own. It wasn’t sold as if it was. You bought the wrong thing. You made the mistake. That’s not a review of the product. It’s not like the book has a quote on the front saying an epic to rival a game of thrones ffs. Urgh, rant over.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kali

    There's only about 10 pages here about "Wicked Children". Then we have, bizarrely, a Top Ten list of medieval poisons, followed by a Top Ten of medieval antidotes. Why? It's just blatant filler. But even worse than filler is the fact that the rest of the book, constituting OVER HALF of the overall contents, are preview chapters for two of the author's other books. Look, I get that it's a freebie and beggars can't be choosers and all that, but AT LEAST have the relevant content in your "book" outwe There's only about 10 pages here about "Wicked Children". Then we have, bizarrely, a Top Ten list of medieval poisons, followed by a Top Ten of medieval antidotes. Why? It's just blatant filler. But even worse than filler is the fact that the rest of the book, constituting OVER HALF of the overall contents, are preview chapters for two of the author's other books. Look, I get that it's a freebie and beggars can't be choosers and all that, but AT LEAST have the relevant content in your "book" outweigh the blatant advertisements. This is basically a pack of preview chapters with a Wikipedia article tacked on the front. It really doesn't inspire me to check out more of this author's (or this publisher's) other works. In fact, it does quite the opposite. The cover's nice, though.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Riddhi

    I downloaded this as a free eBook and did expect a short read however it was extremely short due to the fact that the latter part of the book contains chapters and sneak peeks into other works by the author. This successfully worked as a promotional tool though as it did pique my interest in this author and her other books. Quite interesting and informative initially - starts with a chapter that is about wicked/murderous children as the book suggests. The book then describes 10 medieval poisons I downloaded this as a free eBook and did expect a short read however it was extremely short due to the fact that the latter part of the book contains chapters and sneak peeks into other works by the author. This successfully worked as a promotional tool though as it did pique my interest in this author and her other books. Quite interesting and informative initially - starts with a chapter that is about wicked/murderous children as the book suggests. The book then describes 10 medieval poisons and then 10 medieval antidotes to poisons. Thereafter, the book is wholly dedicated to the promotion of other books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kim Roberts

    I hate giving ratings this low, but when I get a book about child killers I don’t want 30% to be about the killers, 20% to be about poisons and the antidotes, and 50% to be about her other books! Thank goodness it was free. 15 child killers talked about with no page breaks or chapters. Literally paragraphs about each one and the next paragraph was a different child. No longer than 12 pages. Then the top 10 medieval poisons. And then 10 antidotes to the medieval poisons. That was half the book! And I hate giving ratings this low, but when I get a book about child killers I don’t want 30% to be about the killers, 20% to be about poisons and the antidotes, and 50% to be about her other books! Thank goodness it was free. 15 child killers talked about with no page breaks or chapters. Literally paragraphs about each one and the next paragraph was a different child. No longer than 12 pages. Then the top 10 medieval poisons. And then 10 antidotes to the medieval poisons. That was half the book! And that ended up being the whole book! The second half was literally the author promoting her other books and giving chapters to read for those.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    An interesting insight into murderous children, mainly from the Witchcraft era rather than modern cases .. Always good to learn more about poisons too .. Wanted to see whether the Author was someone who's Books I wished to look out for, and I think the answer is yes .. For this reason I decided not to read the Book Chapters at the end - will wait until I read the full length books properly, rather than just a taster ..

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emma Dargue

    The first section of this book is really interesting as it highlights what the title explains which is about wicked children and also about poisons and treatments for poison in the medieval times. The second half dragged a little more as it was excerpts from the authors fiction books which I didn't like as much. But nevertheless a good book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cara Kane

    I know this was a free book but I still feel cheated. Only a handful of pages in regards to murderous children. This was then followed by a list of poisons and antidotes. The remainder of the book is then starting chapters of other books that the author wishes you to buy. Too short and too much advertising. What a waste!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Athena

    Ridiculously short. Just a chapter on children accused of murder (mostly during medieval times), a chapter on poisons, and a chapter on antidotes. The rest is teasers for her novels, which I didn’t bother to read. The first part is very interesting and shockingly well written for one of these free ebooks mostly meant to promote an author’s longer works.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kaiti

    An interesting little essay, but no citations makes it harder to totally accept. I love Maitland and her work so I trust her more than some random person, but footnotes or even just a list of references at the end would have increased my rating by a star.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicki

    Disappointing little book. It offers only about 12 pages on children who murdered others in the Middle Ages, then it lists 10 medieval poisons and 10 antidotes. After that, it offers the two opening chapters for two of Karen Maitland's novels.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Way too short. Really nothing more than an ad for her fiction books. Which is OK, but then don't make it sound (from cover and intro) as if this is going to be a series of short stories. Instead it's barely an essay.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    3.5* for the non-fiction content, I didn't read the novel extracts as I have them on my tbr which make up half of this little ebook. The true stories of murderous children and their fates made for interesting reading as did the part on poisons and perceived cures/antidotes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    K P Lawrence

    Misleading title Just a few stories about murderous children take up no more than a quarter of the book. Some interesting facts but disappointing if you expect a book about murderous children.

  22. 4 out of 5

    emma hackley

    Waste of time I was looking forward to some good stories of wicked children, sadly these were actually extremely limited and had finished by 33% into the book. It is mostly a dictionary of poisons, antidotes and a preview of a completely different book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tim Shepard

    Was enjoying.... This was actually the start of a good book. Until half of it turned into advertisements for the authors other books. I mean there is nothing more annoying than enjoying a book and finding a commercial in it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    It's not a book. It's a few examples and then a list of medieval poisons. The rest of the "book" is sample chapters from the authors novels in a poor marketing attempt. I didn't bother with them, I am so glad I didn't pay for this mess.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Blackwell-combe

    Very interesting, but shorter than expected.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Powell

    Interesting but very short essay on 'wicked children', followed by excerpts of research and writing from Maitland's novel.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill O'Farrell

    Too short Boo was too short, even for a children's book. Did not appreciate the hidden chapters of not one but two other books at the end

  28. 5 out of 5

    Catriona Taylor

    factual but not as in depth as some other books on child killers have gone and missing a lot of the psychology of murderers that i have found in other novels of a similar ilk.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nush

    Interesting I was really looking forward to reading this book and I’m now glad I did. It’s shocking, intriguing and very interesting.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Clive Bevitt

    A short essay on murderous children and those who have caused the death of others through their tall tales.

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