Elizabeth Chauncey is a well-off young woman in 14th century London. Though she is considered nobility due to a distant relative, she refuses to think of herself as such. She is close to a childhood friend, Matthias de Bourgueville, with whom she spends much of her time. They have just returned from an outing at the theatre when her world is shaken up.

Suddenly the servants have taken sick, and soon everyone in London is becoming ill with a mysterious disease. People are dying rapidly and the physicians can do little to halt the spread of disease. Elizabeth and Matthias begin to lose family members, causing a rift in their relationship as love and religion come between them. For what kind of God would inflict such pain and cruelty?

Finally, when her home is bolted shut and she and her sick and dying family are trapped inside a Plague House with no escape, Elizabeth is faced with a choice: remain and die, or flee and take cover in the faith that God will protect her. But time is running out, and she is losing hope. To top things off, Matthias has professed his undying love for her and a proposal of marriage. But if they’re all to die anyway, what is the point of going on?

In short, this is a story of a young woman faced with the pain of loss and decision to stay strong in a world that’s destined to destroy her and everything she loves. It is the tale of looking death in the eye and turning the other cheek. But when faith is lost and death is omnipresent, will she refuse its kiss?  Read the first chapter!

Medieval Plague (1347-1351) Fun Facts
  • Cause: Bacterium Yersinia pestis
  • Common names: Great Mortality, Great Pestilence, Black Death
  • Outcome: Devastated 1/3 of Europe’s population (20 to 30 million deaths between 1347 and 1351)
  • Most common strains: Bubonic, pneumonic, septicemic
  • Bubonic strain: The most widely referenced, but actually the least deadly
  • Origin: East Asia (central China) in 1333
  • Entry into Europe: Via trading ships in the Messina, Sicily harbor in 1347
  • Entry into London: November 1, 1348
  • Treatment practices: Primitive and usually ineffective
  • Common treatments: Bloodletting, avoiding bathing
  • The plague today: Still exists, but outbreaks are rare
  • Modern treatments: No vaccine, but cure available via antibiotics

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(Dedication & Acknowledgements)

The Kiss of Death encompasses a struggle for survival amidst a backdrop of deadly plague in medieval London, with a hint of romance.


Death is knocking. Will you refuse its kiss?

Quick Facts

Publisher: Kellan Publishing (KP)

Genres: Young adult (YA), historical fiction, literary fiction

Fine Arts Literary Award: 2014 Helen Wright Scholarship in creative writing from the Woodstock Fine Arts Association

Reader's Guide: 22 discussion questions included

Educators: Free educational supplement download