‘Plague Land’ was published today in both hardback and eBook. I first heard about this book from History Lives, the historical fiction community from Hodder & Stoughton. It sounded so interesting and I was very kindly sent a proof copy to read and review. ‘Plague Land’ is S D Sykes debut novel; an exciting new voice in historical crime.
This story is based in medieval Kent and is set in the aftermath of the Black Death. It is 1350 and Oswald de Lacy has been sent home from the monastery he was packed off to at the young age of seven. Now eighteen and having recently lost his father and two older brothers to the Black Death, he is faced with a huge amount of responsibility. It will be his job to run the estate as Lord of Somershill Manor, something he never expected.
Oswald has no idea just how bad things are. The years of pestilence and neglect have affected the estate badly and lots of people have lost their lives. His mother however still remains the powerful matriarch of the family and his sister Clemence who isn’t very easy to get on with still lives at Somershill Manor. Just as Oswald is about to tackle things he is notified about a vicious murder of a young woman. The rather ambitious village priest insists that she was killed by demonic dog-headed men, but Oswald sees his claim as a load of nonsense. He soon finds himself with the job of trying to solve the crime and find the murderer, but each step he takes seems to lead him into a maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violence.
I knew as soon as I opened this book that I was going to enjoy reading it. The prologue had me totally intrigued. If I had not known that this was S D Sykes debut novel I would never have guessed, it is that good. The quality of the writing throughout is amazing and the story doesn’t drag. S D Sykes paints a very good picture of what life was like in those days.
There is a handy glossary to refer to and at the end a very interesting historical note from the author which is really worth reading.
‘Plague Land’ is a fascinating and intriguing read and a real page-turner. This is historical crime at its best. I am already looking forward to S D Sykes next book.
I give this book 5 out of 5.
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Three very lucky people have a chance to win a copy of ‘Plague Land’. To enter leave a comment telling me what your favourite era is.
Terms and Conditions
This competition is open to UK residents only.
The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 12th October 2014.
Winners will be notified within 7 days and their details will be passed on to Hodder & Stoughton who will send out the prizes.
Good luck! 🙂