The Bone Fire
S D Sykes
Oswald de Lacy, Lord Somershill, remembers the Black Death all too well. When the deadly plague returns to England in the year 1361, Oswald takes no chances, conveying his family to the refuge offered by his friend Godfrey, Lord Eden. Godfrey’s castle on the Isle of Eden may be old, cold and drafty, but it’s the safest place in which to wait out the plague over winter. At Castle Eden the de Lacys find they’re not the only people seeking sanctuary. A wealthy Lord and his family are down from London. Old Simon, an elderly monk, provides spiritual guidance to his nephews Godfrey and his drunken, lecherous younger brother Edwin. Add to that a knight hired to protect the castle, two Dutch clock makers, and a Fool to provide entertainment, and it amounts to a crowded household.
When Godfrey is murdered it befalls the all too experienced Oswald to seek out the killer. With its inhabitants caught between deadly plague outside the walls and a murderer within, it’s not long before tensions rise in Castle Eden along with the body count. Oswald discovers that everything hinges upon the secrets Godfrey carried to his hastily dug grave beyond the walls. What was his friend working on that would have affected not only Castle Eden but also had the potential to shake the whole of England to its core? Oswald must put his life on the line in order to discover the truth, for the murderer will not rest until those secrets are as dead as his victims.
In The Bone Fire, S D Sykes creates a Chaucerian feel in a setting so vivid the reader can almost sense the miasma beyond the walls, along with the creeping horror of plague and the fear of a murderer within. Hugely enjoyable.