The Butcher Bird

Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor 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 something the King himself has forbidden.Just as anger begins to spread, the story of the Butcher Bird takes flight People claim to have witnesOswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor 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 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 children disappear Convinced the bird is just a superstitious rumor, 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.
The Butcher Bird Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor 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 t

  • Title: The Butcher Bird
  • Author: S.D. Sykes
  • ISBN: 9781605989815
  • Page: 271
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The Butcher Bird”

    1. 'I've seen true nobility in you, brother'. Now she whispered into my ear. 'It is not blood that makes a lord. Oswald. It is heart.' We sat in silence and listened to Humbert's sweet singing from the garden.Great historical mystery read. Quite enjoyable and interesting, for those who like historic reads. It's the sequel to Plague Land, which I read last year. This is a writer and series (which I suspect it will become) I will certainly follow Oswald on his next challenging adventures . April/May [...]

    2. ‘It is not blood that makes a lord. Oswald. It is heart.’I really like this series. Oswald is Lord Somershill by default: as the third son, he was never expected to inherit, but the Black Plague wiped out his brothers and father. He has his hands full learning to manage his estate. His mother and sister are difficult to say the least. In this the second of the series, Oswald, at only nineteen is growing into his role. He is pretty naive and makes a lot of mistakes, although he discovers the [...]

    3. Meaty characters, Oswald Lord Somershill a 19 year old treasure. His mother and sister finely drawn and peculiarly distinct personalities, as well.Most of the book was a 4 star. The estate itself and Versey, the trip to London and the descriptions. Overall the after Plague English world of 1351 was developed to detail and rich toward the prose and texture of just that feel.Yes, until the last 60 pages, I would have given this a 4 star without any equivocation. Then the mystery of the missing nep [...]

    4. The Butcher Bird once again plunges the reader into the raw and blighted world of 14th century England. Like S D Sykes’ debut novel, Plague Land: A Novel,it features 19-year old Oswald de Lacy, the appealingly hapless Lord of Somershill Manor, but has been cleverly structured so it can be read alone. Oswald is still attempting to run his run-down Kentish estate though much hindered by his resentful staff, rebellious tenants and dreadful family. When a baby girl is found dead on a thorn bush, t [...]

    5. As good as the first book in the series, although the plots are a little too similar. Oswald continues to grow into his position as Lord of Somershill, and I loved the development of his relationship with his sister Clemence and his gradual disenchantment from his youthful naivety and misconceptions. These are very well written, and add much credibility to the characters and story. The historical background is well-researched and anything but boring. I cannot begin to imagine how people survived [...]

    6. Few writers can put you right in the middle of medieval England in all its stench and glory like S.D. Sykes. The Butcher Bird is the perfect follow-up to Plague Land, although Sykes provides enough backstory that newcomers don't really need to read the first book. (If you're a fan of the period, read it anyway!)Dare I say it, but the death of a baby seems a welcome distraction to Oswald de Lacy. Barely nineteen, he was never meant to be lord of the manor. Instead he was sent to a monastery at th [...]

    7. enjoyed this book in the series better based in the years just after the black death and oswald has to deal with the death of a child found in the village and liked how the characters got more developed compared with the 1 st book as the world oswald lives in is everchanging and confusing with social aspects.

    8. The Butcher Bird is a mesmerising mystery as an epidemic of a different kind arrives in Somershill, one spread by panic and fear. After disease flocked to our 14th century shores with no regard for social status, the years that follow breed superstition and madness, although it’s exceptionally difficult to tell which when dealing with the tenants under Oswald de Lacy’s jurisdiction.Poor Oswald. The naïve, spoiled novice we met in Plague Land and watched as he solved a medieval mystery invol [...]

    9. Fascinating window into 14th century England through the mystery of a mysterious bird -- the butcher bird -- having killed an infant, child of one of Lord Oswald de Lacy's tenants. He sets out to find the murderer and give sanctuary to a man who his tenants feel is the culprit. The man appears to be mad. Oswald's two nieces disappear and he travels to London to find them. His nephew disappears and another infant is killed. Who or what is the butcher-bird? The story moved along at a good clip; on [...]

    10. It's September, 1351, and young English lord Oswald Somerville is trying to balance a somewhat senile mother, a harridan of a pregnant sister, and a raft of grumpy and intransigent fiefs against a mere nineteen years of life and experience. With no one to really depend on – since the last person he leaned on turned out to be a bit obsessive and murderous and his current right hand is lazy and disrespectful – he has quite a job of work in front of him, and it is all suddenly made more difficu [...]

    11. This is an absolutely fascinating and compelling story that I have enjoyed so much.The reader is catapulted back through hundreds of years; the setting is the Summershill Estate in the Autumn of 1351. The Plague has decimated the estate, in fact the whole country will never be the same again. Half of the population have died, the farms and estates are failing and superstition and suspicion abound.Oswald de Lacy is the third son of the Summershill Estate, he was never meant to be the Lord, but th [...]

    12. This highly enjoyable sequel to Plague Lands once again pits young Oswald de Lacey against the superstitions of his tenants in 14th century England as he tries to solve the mystery of why two dead babies have been found impaled on thorn bushes near his manor in Kent.The villagers, led by the father of one of the infants, believe that a distraught man in the village has somehow released a Butcher Bird that has swooped down and stolen the children. Oswald of course thinks this is nonsense, althoug [...]

    13. Recommended historical fiction book about the aftermath of the Black Plague with a description of what went on in England during the time. The story is about Oswald de Lacy,( or so we think he is until we are informed that he was actually somebody else ) who becames Lord Somershill after his father and two older brothers die of the plague. He is still young and not sure of himself as lord of the manor. Following the death of many people to the scourge, farm labor is scarce, and the population is [...]

    14. Posted in full reviewedthebook/2015 The Butcher Bird hooked me right from the first page and it never let me go – I was engrossed from start to finish and what a brilliantly executed story this was. Though it is the second book of the series, it can be read on its own but I chose to read the first book, Plague Land, straight before and it felt great to be back in Somershill – with its uncomfortable dynamics and interesting characters. It’s made easy to get a feel for the backstory straight [...]

    15. A perfectly competent historical crime novel, I enjoyed the whole historical snapshot post the Black Death in England. Especially the whole labor demand supply dynamics. What I did not enjoy is he way a lovingly drawn historical tableau is entirely populated by characters who have entirely modern sensibilities. It jars and Oswald's sensitive new man persona is just weird.

    16. A year older, but still struggling with his obligations as lord of the manor, Oswald de Lacy is back in this second of S. D. Sykes gripping 14th century mystery series.Oswald's superstitious peasants are convinced the "butcher bird' is responsible for carrying off two babies and leaving them impaled on thorns. Oswald scoffs at the idea a shrike, a tiny bird with the gruesome nickname, could be incapable of such a crime since its usual victims are insects, small birds and rodents. The villagers i [...]

    17. I've had a pretty good run of reading mysteries that I actually enjoyed, but my nemesis genre has come back and reminded me that, no, this will never be my kingdom. It's hard for me to know if regular mystery readers will enjoy this, but the GoodReads ratings suggest that it's finding an enthusiastic audience. For me, though, it never quite gelled.The concept behind the mysteries, that the death of an infant is being blamed on a large bird that caches its meals in thorny bushes, was intriguing e [...]

    18. This is the second in the series, set in the Middle ages, a time period that I find fascinating. There was so much sickness, superstition and a strong belief in evil, the devil witches, strong ties to the church. This takes place after the plague has ended, so many dead including Oswald's elder brothers, leaving him the Lord of Somershill, though he had been raised in a monastery and was meant for the church. He is a rather naïve character, still very young and not being raised to assume contro [...]

    19. It is the mid-Fourteenth Century and England is coming to terms with the end of the plague. The scarcity of working men has led to demands for rises in daily pay, resisted by King and ruling nobility. In the countryside fields remain unworked and poverty is taking grip. In Summershill estate in Kent two young babies die mysteriously and an unstable man is blamed – he and his ‘butcher bird’, a satanic creature allegedly conjured up from the man’s union with his dead wife. The young master [...]

    20. In the years following the plague the landscape of Kent is changing. The numbers of people available to work the land is decreasing and free men are able to travel to work for employers who will pay the best wages. The King has determined that wages should be kept at pre-Plague levels and pressure is being brought to bear on those who might be considering increasing the wages they pay. Oswald is caught in the middle of this. The tenants at Somershill are restless and looking for more but his ove [...]

    21. On the whole, an interesting mystery that moved right along. Unfortunately, for me the history doesn't quite ring true in details here and there. I'm not an expert, but I read widely in medieval history, and this just feltght on authenticity. I also found the main character to be frustratingly ineffective -- I understand that this is his callow youth, but while he is sympathetic, I did not find him likable or clever, both traits that I enjoy in my sleuths. I suppose it is a high demand to ask fo [...]

    22. Three and a half stars for this second book in the new series. Not quite as good as the first, but that was a tough act to follow. Definitely good enough that I'll be looking for the third book in the series (this coming from someone who rarely reads series books). I love the time period (England in the 1300s, right after the plague had decimated half the population). Fascinating details prove the author did her research!

    23. Sykes is a strong character writer, and is good at world building - even the most minor of characters felt three-dimensional and well thought out. The mystery, however, was a bit of a let down - especially when the true nature of the crime is revealed and some characters started acting in ways contrary their previous characterization, or in ways that seemed outside the context of the historical period the novel is set in. If you're looking for a mystery series with an enjoyable cast of character [...]

    24. Pretty fun, quick read. ***SPOILERS***Kind of odd that Sykes's sympathies are so clearly with women (the book turns out to be about abortion) and workers (she opens and closes by talking about how the powers that be attempted to artificially suppress wages after the Black Death) but she decided to make her hero a petty lord who only comes around on those issues at the end. The way he does it feels kind of convenient, and not all that believable, although in fairness she sets him up for the chang [...]

    25. My issue with the Somershill mysteries (and the reason they haven't gone above 3 stars) is the fact that almost every character in the books is really unsympathetic, snide, waspish and immature. The setting and plot are interesting and well realised and I have enjoyed reading them - to a point- but when you are dealing with characters like this it's very hard to become invested in them. That said, I may carry on with the series to see if it improves!

    26. This was the second in the series and though I didn't read the first, the author was very good at providing background that must have been in the previous book. Most of the characters were unlovable. But this was a narration by a young man who found himself to be a Lord, though as a third son was unprepared for this, and his view of the others in the story might well have been colored by his own immaturity and lack of confidence. I'd like to read more.

    27. Honestly, I preferred the first book, but this was still a nice diversion. The content and plot are relatively simple, but the narrative is still engaging. Despite the aspect of murder and such, the story is charming and it made for a peaceful read. The only real problem was that the iBooks version was frought with typos and other formatting issues. Hopefully those will get corrected.

    28. This is historic fiction and mystery combined. The story takes place In the 1300's just after the plague. The main character Oswald, is so believable, human, imperfect thrust into a world for which he is not prepared. His sister and mother are both annoying and entertaining. This book is second in the series. Read PlagueLand first.There is a third book too. I'll read that next.

    29. This series has definitely become one of my favorite historical mystery series. The whodunnit aspect of the story is well plotted and interwoven with lots of interesting red herrings. My favorite aspect of the story (and the series) is how it gives so much attention to the relationship between the protagonist and his sister, which is something that I haven’t seen much in fiction.

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