A thrillingly suspenseful crime novel set in medieval Kent in the aftermath of the Black Death.
Book 1 in the gripping Oswald de Lacy series, which can be read as a standalone, from 'the medieval CJ Sansom' (Jeffery Deaver)
England, 1350: the Black Death has changed the country forever, taking master and servant alike.
Young Oswald de Lacey was never meant to be Lord of Somershill Manor, but when his father and older brothers die of the Plague, he must return home from the monastery and assume responsibility for an estate ravaged by pestilence.
Almost immediately Oswald is confronted with the vicious murder of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The village priest claims it is the work of demonic dog-headed men, a theory Oswald rejects as nonsense. But proving this - by finding the real killer - only leads Oswald deeper into a maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.
And then the body of another girl is found...
'Sykes has really reset the bar for medieval mysteries' 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
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.
If you're looking for a well written and engaging book set in the Middle Ages, or you happen to like thrillers, mysteries and "whodunnits", then this is your cup of tea. Sykes has really reset the bar for medieval mysteries. Throughout the book, 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
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
SD Sykes lives in Kent with her husband. 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.