Sykes establishes herself firmly as a major talent.
Sykes is a master at combining historical setting with mystery
We are plunged into Sykes' rich soup of Venetian intrigue; period detail; and increasingly intricate plotting, all with the deeply realized character of Lord Somershill fighting his own demons while investigating. A brilliant addition to the Somershill Manor Novels.
This third series outing offers further insights into Lord Somershill and the past that bedevils him, along with sophisticated plotting, intrigue, and immersion in a fascinating historical setting.
Sykes offers an unusual perspective on this historical period ... She also deals realistically with the troubles of the era's women.
An excellent addition to a thoroughly enjoyable series... Sykes has created a medieval detective story with a troubled protagonist which manages to stay true to its period and hints at even richer things to come - I thoroughly recommend it.
Trouble, and its attendant duties, confront the reluctant young lord on nearly every page of this eventful, engrossing, informative mystery set in mid-14th-century Kent, England.
Comparisons to the master of historical crime, CJ Sansom, are inevitable and, in this case, justified.
Sykes's gamble in putting Oswald in unfamiliar terrain pays off, as she again blends a detailed immersion in the time period with a clever mystery plot line
A Venice whose ancient glories still survive today provides the background for an investigation whose solution is secondary to identifying the cause of Oswald's angst.
There's a nice, cliché-free sharpness to Sykes' writing . . . that suggests a medieval Raymond Chandler at work, and there are no phony celebrations of the peasantry or earth-mothers thrusting herbal concoctions down grateful throats. Plenty of action and interesting characters, without intervention of the libertarian modern conscience that so often wrecks the medieval historical novel.
Oswald's character, beautifully painted by Sykes, dominates this excellent historical thriller set against the waterways, palaces and dungeons of medieval Venice
The whodunnit aspect is neatly done, the family secrets and waspish relationships are intriguing, and humour and originality are abundant.