BOOK REVIEW: THE BUTCHER BIRD (SOMERSHILL MANOR MYSTERY 2) BY S D SYKES

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. The Black Death changed many things, and just as it took away his father and elder brothers, leaving Oswald to be recalled from the monastery where he expected to spend his life, so it has taken many of his villagers and servants. 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 thief-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a bewitching lady, Oswald’s journey is full of danger, dark intrigue and shocking revelations.

MY REVIEW

Oswald de Lacy is Lord of Somershill Manor. After a dead baby is discovered impaled on a thorn bush, the locals are convinced the culprit is the terrible Butcher Bird which was released when villager John Burrows opened up the casket of his dead wife.  Oswald however, dismisses their anxieties as superstitious nonsense and despite the doubts of those around him is determined to discover who is really behind the child’s death.
Oswald is a great character; he constantly battles against the embedded beliefs of those about him. He is a just leader, treating everyone with respect, even those who prove him wrong.  He is a patient man but he has his work cut out now as he goes about getting to the bottom of this mystery.

I loved the whole feel of this book; the characters, the story and the way it unfolded.  I particularly loved Oswald’s interaction with his bossy mother and tetchy heavily pregnant sister, each with their own issues. This isn’t just a medieval thriller, it gives the reader far more than that – humour and great characters who’ll you’ll either love, hate or be totally exasperated with.  I’m not one for spoilers, so it’s all about reading the book to find out for yourselves exactly what Oswald’s detective work uncovers.  However, please do read this because it is a really entertaining book.  My only regret?  That I didn’t get an earlier introduction to Oswald by reading Plague Land…I’m about to remedy that now.

I would like to thank the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

A great read and well worthy of five stars…

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