Illustrated characters and creatures taken from the Luttrell Psalter courtesy of The British Library
Published Jan 2018 in the UK Order from Amazon.co.ukOrder from Waterstones.comOrder from WHSmithFind your local bookshop Published July 2017 in the US Order from Amazon.comOrder from Barnes & NobleOrder from Indie Bound
It’s 1358 and Oswald de Lacy, Lord Somershill, is in Venice awaiting a pilgrim galley to the Holy Land. While the city is under siege from the Hungarians, Oswald lodges with an English merchant and soon comes under the spell of this decadent and dazzling island state that sits on the edge of Europe, where East meets West.
But Oswald has secrets. He is running away from something in England – a shadow that still haunts him, no matter how much he consoles himself with the delights of Venice. When he finds a dead man on the night of the carnival, he is dragged into a murder investigation that takes him deep into the intrigues of this mysterious, paranoid city.
From the dungeons of the Doge’s palace to the convent-brothel of Santa Lucia, Oswald must search for a murderer in this bewildering maze of alleys and canals. When he comes up against the feared Signori di Notte, the secret police of Venice, Oswald learns that he is not the only one with something to hide. Everybody is watching somebody else, and nobody in Venice is what he or she seems.
Published October 2015 in the UK Order from Amazon.co.ukOrder from Waterstones.comOrder from WHSmithFind your local bookshop Published April 2016 in the US Order from Amazon.comOrder from Barnes & NobleOrder from Indie Bound
Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. The Plague changed many things, and just as it took away his father and brothers, so it has taken many of his villagers and servants. Oswald was recalled from the monastery were he expected to spend his life. 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 crime-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a dangerous woman, Oswald’s investigation is full of jeopardy, dark intrigue and shocking revelations.
Published September 2014in the UK. Order from Amazon.co.ukOrder from Waterstones.comFind your local bookshop Published February 2015in the US. Order from Amazon.comOrder from Barnes & NobleOrder from Indie Bound
Oswald de Lacy is trying to organize a murder investigation.
Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent home again at eighteen when his father and two older brothers are killed by the Black Death, Oswald was never meant to be Lord of Somershill Manor, or to face this kind of responsibility.
When he comes home, the years of pestilence and neglect have altered the estate 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 vicious murder of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was the victim 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. He is close to losing all power and respect.
And then the body of another girl is found.
“There’s a sharpness to Sykes’s writing that suggests a medieval Raymond Chandler at work.”
“Sykes has reset the bar for medieval mysteries.”