The violent, poignant story of how Oswald de Lacy came to be lord of Somershill.
'The series gets better and better . . . a very credible medieval world . . . Oswald is such an appealing character, growing richer and deeper with every book' - Andrew Taylor, author of Ashes of London
1370. Oswald de Lacy was not always Lord of the Manor, or even meant to be. The third son, he was sent off to become a novice monk. Now, with winter closing in on Somershill, his wife flirting with their houseguest, his sister sniping from the sidelines and his mother still ruling his life even from her deathbed, Oswald is forced to confront the secret that has haunted him ever since those days in the monastery.
1349. Sent to gather herbs in the forest by his tutor, Brother Peter, 18-year-old Oswald encounters a terrified girl, who runs into the swollen river and drowns. In her village, he discovers that she is only one of many poor young women who have disappeared, with no-one in authority caring enough to investigate.
Convinced the girls are dead, Oswald turns to the village women for help in finding the murderer - in particular to the beautiful Maud Woodstock, who provokes feelings in Oswald that no monk should entertain.
Soon, however, another killer stalks the land. Plague has come and the monastery is locked against it. Brother Peter insists that Oswald should forget his quest. But Oswald will not stop until he has discovered the shocking truth, which will echo down the years to a letter, clutched in his dying mother's hand.
PRAISE FOR S D SYKES:-
A fascinating glimpse of an almost forgotten period of history - Andrew Taylor
Chilling and evocative. This book will have you gripped from the first page to the last - Tracy Borman
This outing reinforces her place in the historical mystery genre's top ranks - Publisher's Weekly
The setting is fantastic [...] builds to a satisfyingly twisty climax - The Times
Utterly immersive, utterly gripping historical crime at its very, very best - Antonia Hodgson
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.