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Sarah Hawkswood Books In Order

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Publication Order of A Bradecote and Catchpoll Investigation Books

Servant of Death (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ordeal by Fire (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Marked to Die (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hostage to Fortune (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Vale of Tears (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Faithful Unto Death (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
River of Sins (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blood Runs Thicker (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lord Bishop's Clerk aka Servant of Death.

Sarah Hawkswood
Sarah Hawkswood is a historical fiction author who considers herself a wordsmith since she is only wholly happy when she is writing. She is also a lover of modern history, which was her area of study at Oxford University. The talented author borrowed her pen name from her great grandmother, and she is dedicating to writing unique stories that are both enjoyable and engaging to the mind. Hawkswood also enjoys being a wife and a loving mother to her grown children. Currently, the author lives in Worcestershire, where she hopes to keep on finding inspiration to write and add to her collection.

Servant of Death
Servant of Death is the first book in the Bradecote and Catchpoll Investigation series. In the mid-1100s and the civil war between Empress Maud, Widow of the Roman emperor and King Stephen, it is raging. The hated and much-feared Eudo, clerk to the Bishop in Winchester, is bludgeoned to death in the church. Most disturbingly, his lifeless body is left in the alter. While Eudo had earned himself enough enemies during his lifetime, it is shocking that someone hated him enough to kill him. Willy Serjeant Catchpoll, the Sheriff in Worcestershire, and his superior, Hugh Bradecore, launch an investigation searching for the killer.

A few leads emerge, and just when the Sheriff and the Undersheriff are making headways in this investigation, the killer strikes again. So, who is this killer who seems determined to eliminate certain individuals in the community? What is the killer’s motivation? Set in Abbey at Pershore, this story takes you back in time when some of the modern comforts were unheard of. Unraveling a murder mystery wasn’t as easy, and information was not passed as efficiently. The relationship between Catchpoll and Bradecote is strained at first, and their inaugural visit to the field will leave you in stitches. Bradecote has a better social standing and education when compared to Catchpoll. However, Catchpole is much more efficient and experienced.

While there is a lot of historical details in the story, this book reads easy and flows very well. The author provides just enough information for the reader to understand the political and cultural temperature during this time. All the characters play their part well, and it is fun meeting with them all and seeing how they interact with each other throughout the story. The men’s confusion when dealing with competent and calm women is amusing. Sister Edeva and Mistress Weaver stand out for the way they handle their interview during this crisis and how they remain unmoved despite the Undersheriff’s discomfort.

If you are a fun of mediaeval murder mysteries, you will love Servant of Death. Anyone who also likes period novels with details on the way of life will also find this book irresistible. The author introduces different characters in the first few pages, so it starts a bit slow, but once the pace picks up, the story gets addictive. With a flawless narration and a pace that is just right for this type of story, the author takes the reader through a murder that leaves the sheriff and his boss searching for leads. It is incredible how the author explains different scenes without rushing them or dragging them. Though unfamiliar, the landscapes come to life through his explanations, and the character sounds real and relatable.

Ordeal by Fire
Ordeal by Fire is the second book in A Bradecote and Catchpoll Investigation series. In September 1143, a fire in Worcester leaves Sergeant Catchpoll, hoping that it is just an accident. However, when another fire occurs, leaving a charred corpse in its wake, Catchpoll is left no choice but to launch an investigation. He enlists the help of his colleague undersheriff Hugh Bradecote, and together they work to unravel the mystery behind the Fire. Also, in this investigation is Walkelin, a young man who is helping the sheriff and Undersheriff as he learns the ropes hoping to advance in the future.

Since Bradecote and Catchpoll have worked together before, their relationship is much better this time around. Bradecote starts the investigation in Catchpoll’s absence, and it is clear that the man trusts him fully. The clues are few and hard to come by, not to mention the fearful people of Worcester who cannot rest easy until the arsonist in apprehended. Fires were perilous in medieval times, given the flimsy constructions and how close the buildings were, so it is easy to understand the people’s fear. The fires’ cause remains a mystery until the last few pages, and it is sad that some innocent lives are lost in the process. You may be able to figure out the culprit before the conclusion, but this doesn’t mean that the ride will be any less enjoyable.

The author allows us a glimpse into the character’s personal lives, and it is great getting to know them better. Bradecote’s story is heartbreaking, and you cannot help but hope that life will treat him kinder henceforth. It has been three weeks since Bradecote buried his wife, and the man has been feeling like he could have done something to prevent this death at childbirth. Fortunately, he now has a son even though he knows nothing about taking care of such a helpless being. The call to head the investigation of the suspicious fires helps distract him from the troubles in his life and also give him some purpose. How far will Bradecote and his colleagues need to go for the truth? Does the culprit explain the reasoning behind the fires?

The deeper you get into this series, the more you will appreciate Hawkswood’s style and writing. It is also outstanding how the author puts your brain to work as you follow the clues making this novel a joy to read and a mental exercise. The humorous dialogue will leave you chuckling, and the likable characters are just the icing on the cake. If you are looking for a well-thought-out murder mystery story set in the mediaeval era, Ordeal by Fire is a perfect choice.

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