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Extended Audio Sample Plague Land, by S. D. Sykes Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: S. D. Sykes Narrator: Shaun Grindel Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 Somershill Manor. Dispatched 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It’s no fun reading a medieval mystery if it isn’t steeped in filth, squalor, and pestilence. S. D. Sykes gets right to the point in Plauge Land, which serves it all up in vivid detail…[Sykes] devises a clever plot to test Oswald’s mettle, pitting the rational thinking he learned at a monastery against the superstitions of his age.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “There’s a nice, cliche-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 (London)

  • “Set in 1350, British author Sykes’ 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…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.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “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 fourteenth-century Kent.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “In 1350s England, the bubonic plague has killed thousands and disrupted the feudal system. Oswald de Lacy, the youngest of his family, is destined to be a monk. His life is turned upside down when the plague carries off his father and older brothers…Sykes’ debut, the first of a planned series, immerses the reader in the filth and ignorance of medieval Kent, presents a puzzling mystery, and introduces a hero who grows in stature as his problems increase.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • 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

  • “There are plot twists aplenty…Plague Land is a quest to rebuild identity in an apocalyptic world, a theme that makes this new medieval series one I will be sure to follow.”

    Martine Bailey, author of An Appetite for Violets

  • Plague Land is a gripping historical crime thriller, an engaging coming-of-age story, and a richly textured evocation of fourteenth century Kent. I was totally hooked.”

    Jake Woodhouse, author of The Amsterdam Quartet

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About the Author

S. D. Sykes received an MA degree in writing from Sheffield Hallam University in South Yorkshire, England. She attended the novel-writing course at the Curtis Brown creative writing school, where she was inspired to write Plague Land. She lives in England.