The medieval CJ Sansom
Sykes's damp, depopulated, miasmic Middle Ages is well evoked, making this an impressive debut with at least one sequel on the way.
A novel full of suspense and intrigue that will have you gripped.
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.
PLAGUE LAND is a fascinating historical crime novel about a world turned upside down, inhabited by a rich cast of characters. A terrific debut and a wonderful start to a brand-new series.
Sykes has really reset the bar for medieval mysteries . . . every clue brings with it unexpected twists and turns. When you think you know who the killer is, you're slapped with yet another surprise.
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.