A Lover of Books

‘Plague Land’ by S D Sykes + Competition

Plague Land

‘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.


Both S D Sykes and History Lives are on Twitter.  Do follow them.

S D Sykes – @SD_Sykes

History Lives – @HistoryLives_



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! 🙂

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15 thoughts on “‘Plague Land’ by S D Sykes + Competition

  1. Jane Wells on said:

    Edwardian , an era of innovation and invention.


  2. Until recently I’d have said the Tudor times, as I’ve enjoyed so much fiction set in that era, but I’ve just finished reading a novel set in a debtor’s prison in the Regency era and it was a huge eye-opener, so I’m going to be looking out for more Regency fiction (but not of the Mills & Boon type!)


  3. Sandra Clarke on said:

    I prefer a more modern era but have enjoyed reading various different eras in the past.


  4. tamalyn roberts on said:

    to actually live in i would love the 60’s i would have enjoyed the very short skirts. book wise is 1700’s as have been reading the outlander series and its been great to learn


  5. Priscilla Stubbs on said:

    I do love historical fiction and some very good books have been written about the Tudor period. I enjoy books by Anne O’Brien and Philipa Gregory, both good historical writers.


  6. Linda Spevick on said:

    I like the Regency era


  7. I like most historical fiction, but the Medieval period is my favourite.

    It’s great to read the positive reviews of Plague Land so far – I think it will be high on everyone’s wish lists.

    Until I am lucky enough to get my hands on a copy (somehow) I’ll make a start on The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland this weekend, which has been sitting on a shelf taunting me for two weeks!


  8. Without doubt my favourite period is the Middle Ages. I love everything about one of the most amazing periods in history and I am so happy that there are a great many talented authors out there writing fiction in this period now. I love all the Ellis Peters books, Karen Maitlaind’s fabulously dark and twisted tales – and probably the best book I had read set in that period is Ian Mortimer’s A Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England – a stunning book.
    Very intrigued by the plot and the reviews thus far, make Plague Land a must read this autumn.


  9. 1970s, but still really intrigued by Plague Land. Claire


  10. I love reading historical books and my favourite era has to be Tudors.


  11. JULIE D. BANKS on said:

    I love reading about the 1800’s I find it fascinating, especially where it involves music.


  12. The Medieval period of history – knights, such turbulent, gory, times. I also love the Tudors.


  13. I love the Edwardian Era and only because of the fashion


  14. This book sounds fascinating, thanks for running this competition!

    Having studied history through school I find the early 20th Century most interesting. Particularly the events leading up to WW1.


  15. The lucky winners have now been randomly picked and notified of their win, so check your inboxes! 🙂

    Thanks for entering this competition.

    Sonya x


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