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.
SD Sykes brilliantly evokes the landscape and people of medieval Kent in this thrillingly suspenseful debut.
The audio rights are handled by Gordon Wise.
Melissa Pimentel manages the translation rights for Plague Land
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Set in medieval England, Plague Land is a historical murder mystery brimming with intrigue and secrets. Intense and intricately layered, Plague Land is a "must-read" for connoisseurs of the genre.
The medieval CJ Sansom.
A novel full of suspense and intrigue that will have you gripped.
Sykes's damp, depopulated, miasmic Middle Ages is well evoked, making this an impressive debut.
It’s no fun reading a medieval mystery if it isn’t steeped in filth, squalor and pestilence. S. D. Sykes [...] serves it all up in vivid detail, from the noxious smells to an actual burial pit, heaped with the putrefying bodies of plague victims.
New York Times
author of The Devil in the Marshalsea Full Review