The book is set in two time periods, modern day and the late 1340's Germany. In the current day, Tom is a mathematical historian and has discovered an anomaly regarding settlement patterns in a particular area of Germany. According to his work, a town called Eifelheim was abandoned in the 14th Century and never re-settled which is extremely uncharacteristic. In fact, centuries later, the roads turned back on themselves and went out of their way to avoid the area.
Meanwhile, we are inserted into the daily lives of the inhabitants of Oberhochwald (as it was known back then) through the eyes of Pastor Dietrich. We learn quickly that this is the lead up to the abandonment of the town. Without ruining the story, there is a discovery of 'beings' living in the forest and the ever encroaching threat of the black plague.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from so many angles. I enjoyed unravelling the mystery with Tom and his partner Sharon, and following along as the drama unfolded at Oberhochwald.
I enjoyed pondering the different responses by the towns people to the events occurring and how different the behaviours, beliefs and values were in that time period in Europe. It was also fascinating comparing the technology of the beings to those of the time period, and also to what we know today.
The book had a satisfactory and solid conclusion, and I was still thinking about it days after finishing it, which is the mark of any great novel.
My rating = ****1/2