One morning in 1410, two men from an East-Coast fishing village find a mermaid washed up on the sand.
This discovery starts a chain of events that leads four of our villages-the priest, the shoemaker's wife, the fisherman's daughter and the leper-on a pilgrimage: across the North Sea, to Venice and then along the Mediterranean coast to the Holy Land.
With the magical imagination that has illuminated her previous books, Julia Blackburn travels with her pilgrims. At first, she follows from Distance, but gradually she pulls closer until the five centuries between their time and ours dissolve and the author has entered their world.
A spellbinding novel by one of the most original writers currently at work, The Leper's Companions is an extraordinary evocation of the medieval world-a book about birth and death, about destiny, about the courage to let go without the certainty of surviving, to journey with no certainty of return.