Inspired by events that took place near Trier, Germany late in the sixteenth century, THERE CAME A CONTAGION tells the story of the Helgen family, three brothers respected in their village as skilled and resourceful farmers. With their widowed mother, their wives and children, they build a stable if difficult life together raising rye, barley and swine. But when the weather turns erratic and harvests begin to fail, a scapegoat is sought. Jews are banished from the territory as are the followers of Luther and Calvin. The Archbishop then discovers a pestilence of witches: people believed to have forsaken God and sworn allegiance to the Devil. Elsebett Helgen, a midwife and herbal healer, is twenty when the Archbishop’s men arrive in the village.

THERE CAME A CONTAGION was published on July 1, 2021 both in print format and as an eBook. The eBook is available wherever eBooks are sold. Any bookstore may order the print edition through Ingram.


Stephen Fox, novelist and historian:

“Doug Ingold’s novels are masterpieces of time, place and sensibility. The saga of the Helgen family, their friends, relatives and village, their joys and sorrows, is written with the intimacy of someone who you could easily imagine as having lived in 16th century rural Germany. It is a rich, deeply felt immersion.”

Gabrielle Gopinath, writer and critic:

“This is an engrossing book that touches on very contemporary themes, even as it transports readers to a remote historical past.”

From John Derek’s 5-star review on NetGalley:

There Came a Contagion is an excellent historical work of fiction. The author has done a remarkable job of painting a vivid picture of the life and times of the period… You can feel the anxiety, stress, pain and heartache as the Helgen family goes through its trials and tribulations.

Read the entire review by following this link:

A second  five-star review has appeared on Net Galley. It was written by Esther H from the Netherlands. She wrote:

This book is unlike any other historical fiction that I’ve read before. I loved it, but I can imagine that it’s not for everyone. It’s a ‘slow read’, which felt both a bit peculiar and just perfect at the same time. You get to know the people and the heartbeat of this family, it pulls at your heartstrings, you feel joy and hope, but at the same time and underlying feeling of dread, because you know how all this will end…
The world in this book is beautifully crafted, the characters far from one-dimensional, and there is a quality about it all that is very special.

This four-star review also appeared on NetGalley, written by Louise Gray of Australia

Full Text:
This book offers a fascinating blend of modern concepts in a historical context. I don’t know much about the era so appreciated what was clearly thorough research to keep the reader aware and engaged. The writing style is quite sophisticated with almost lyrical sentence structure in some places. I found the characters difficult to engage with but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

Below is a five-star review on NetGalley written by Robin Price of the UK

Full Text:
Doug Ingold writes historical fiction in the shadows of real history evoking ghosts from many centuries ago with aplomb.
Set against a backdrop of the witch trials that plagued Europe and the UK, from North Berwick to Copenhagen to the Holy Roman Empire at the end of the sixteenth century, this is a powerful, at times dark, character driven story.
The plot is compelling and written with integrity and empathy, full of colourful historical realism as memorable as Witchfinder General.

Another five-star review. This written by Tracy Wells, the first from an American

Full Text:
I wanted to read this book mostly because i know that the author, Doug Ingold, is an exceptional writer but I found this book much more captivating than I anticipated. It is like a historical trip back in time with endearing characters that keep you engaged in the hardships of living in a time when life only revolved around hard work and family. It is a story of love and loyalty and the difficulties of living in an uncertain time. The story is about the widow Marsel Helgen and her family, 3 sons and their wives and children. The book gives you a tidbits of history and the difficulties as well as triumphs of living in Europe in the 1600’s while still keeping you absorbed in the personal lives of the Helgen family. When times get hard and Mother Nature rears her ugly head, people felt they needed someone to blame and the bigotry and self preservation that has always been present in human nature becomes their scapegoat for the difficulties that have befallen them. Upon reflection i realized that while technology has made our lives much easier, that same principle is still present today. We no longer burn witches at the stake but we are still looking for someone to blame for our shortcomings. While this is a work of fiction I would recommend this book to anyone that loves to learn a little about history but enjoys a good story with intriguing characters that keep you spellbound in the trials and tribulations of their life.


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