A captivating and wonderfully evocative historical crime novel based in 1351, this is the second in the series, set after ‘Plague Land’. While it’s best to start at the beginning, ‘The Butcher Bird’ can actually be read as a standalone novel, as the background to the family structure is explained. At Somershill Manor, Oswald de Lacy attempts to solve the mysterious death of a baby, however he finds the situation running away from him. The historical notes at the end confirm this was a frightening time, with change coming hard on the heels of the Black Death. S. D. Sykes ensures that menace stalks through the pages, yet a weary and determined defiance makes itself felt. I believed the perilous nature of the times and flinched from the raw stink and the healing concoctions as I attempted to unravel this knotty, yet compelling mystery.
Oswald de Lacy 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.
'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
Publication date: 07/04/2016
Publisher: Hodder Paperback an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publication date: 22/10/2015
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
|Publication date:||7th April 2016|
|Author:||S. D. Sykes|
|Publisher:||Hodder Paperback an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,|
SD Sykes lives in Kent with her family and various animals. She has done everything from professional dog-walking to co-founding her own successful business. She is a graduate from Manchester University and has an MA in Writing from Sheffield Hallam. She attended the novel writing course at literary agents Curtis Brown where she was inspired to finish her first novel. She has also written for radio and has developed screenplays with Arts Council funding. Author photo © Keeley Hoad PhotographyMore About S. D. Sykes