Plague land

S. D. Sykes

Book - 2015

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MYSTERY/Sykes, S. D.
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Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
Historical fiction
Published
New York : Pegasus Crime 2015.
Edition
First Pegasus Books hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
336 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781605986739
1605986739
Main Author
S. D. Sykes (author)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

After ten years at the monastery 17-year-old Oswald de Lacy is back home and in no way prepared to be Lord of Somershill. The plague responsible for decimating the countryside has also killed Oswald's father and two older brothers, leaving him with a neglected estate, an overbearing mother, an unmarried sister, and fearful peasants. Then further tragedy strikes in the form of the shocking death of Alison Starvecrow, which the village priest blames on a demonic dog-headed man. Oswald attempts to take charge and discover the truth behind Alison's death, but all around him lie secrets. Then another body is found. VERDICT With political intrigue and the social barriers of the Middle Ages in play, Sykes adds an intricate and intriguing debut to the ever-widening pool of medieval-era mysteries. Thrilling plot twists and layered characters abound in this rich tale of murder and mystery in 14th-century Kent. [Page 73]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Set in 1350, British author Sykes's debut provides everything a reader would want in a historical mystery: a gripping plot, vivid language, living and breathing characters, and an immersive depiction of the past. With England still in the grip of the plague, callow 18-year-old Oswald de Lacy unwillingly assumes the mantle of Lord Somershill after the disease claims his father and brothers. Oswald departs the monastery where he's been residing and returns home to Kent, where the burdens of overseeing his estate are complicated by the discovery of the body of Alison Starvecrow, a tenant's daughter, in a neighboring wood. The parish priest, John of Cornwall, insists that a dog-headed man, an emissary of Satan himself, slit the girl's throat. Cornwall whips the locals into a hysterical fury, impeding Oswald's efforts to discover the truth. From the opening line, "If I preserve but one memory at my own death, it shall be the burning of the dog-headed beast," Sykes grabs the reader by the throat. Agent: Gordon Wise, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Inheriting his family's medieval manor when his father and older brothers die in the plague, Oswald de Lacy reluctantly tackles years of neglect, malice and ignorance only to find himself investigating the murders and disappearances of young girls.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When Oswald de Lacy returns from a monastery to become the Lord of Somerhill Manor after a plague, he is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman whom the villagers claim was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In this chilling historical mystery, young girls go missing from a medieval English village and Lord Oswald de Lacy must find the killer before tragedy strikes again.Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by the Plague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate. He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants. Yet some things never change. Oswald's mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried.Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it'by finding the real murderer'is quite a different matter. Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.And then the body of another girl is found.Sarah Sykes brilliantly evokes the landscape and people of medieval Kent in this thrillingly suspenseful debut.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In this chilling historical mystery, young girls go missing from a medieval English village and Lord Oswald de Lacy must find the killer before tragedy strikes again.Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by the Plague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate. He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants. Yet some things never change. Oswald's mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried.Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it'by finding the real murderer'is quite a different matter. Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.And then the body of another girl is found.Sarah Sykes brilliantly evokes the landscape and people of medieval Kent in this thrillingly suspenseful debut.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by the Plague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate. He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants. Yet some things never change. Oswald's mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried.Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it—by finding the real murderer—is quite a different matter. Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.And then the body of another girl is found.Sarah Sykes brilliantly evokes the landscape and people of medieval Kent in this thrillingly suspenseful debut.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

In this chilling historical mystery, young girls go missing from a medieval English village and Lord Oswald de Lacy must find the killer before tragedy strikes again.