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The Butcher Bird

The Butcher Bird

Oswald de Lacey is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. The Black Death changed many things, and just as it took away his father and elder brothers, leaving Oswald to be recalled from the monastery where he expected to spend his life, so it has taken many of his villagers and servants. However, there is still the same amount of work to be done in the farms and fields, and the few people left to do it think they should be paid more – something the King himself has forbidden.

Just as anger begins to spread, the story of the Butcher Bird takes flight. People claim to have witnessed a huge creature in the skies. A new-born baby is found impaled on a thorn bush. And then more children disappear.

Convinced the bird is just a superstitious rumour, Oswald must discover what is really happening. He can expect no help from his snobbish mother and his scheming sister Clemence, who is determined to protect her own child, but happy to neglect her step-daughters.

From the plague-ruined villages of Kent to the thief-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a bewitching lady, Oswald’s journey is full of danger, dark intrigue and shocking revelations.

(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery / Historical Mysteries

On Sale: 22nd October 2015

Price: £24.99

ISBN-13: 9781473616028

Reviews

Praise for PLAGUE LAND
:
The medieval CJ Sansom
Jeffery Deaver
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.
Independent
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.
Antonia Hodgson, author of THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA
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.
Medievalists
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.
Publisher's Weekly
Comparisons to the master of historical crime, CJ Sansom, are inevitable and, in this case, justified.
The Times
The whodunnit aspect is neatly done, the family secrets and waspish relationships are intriguing, and humour and originality are abundant.
Daily Mail
Sykes establishes herself firmly as a major talent.
Publishers Weekly
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.
Wall Street Journal