River of Sins – Blog Tour


July 1144. Ricolde, ‘the finest whore in Worcester’, is found butchered on an island a few miles up the River Severn. How did she get there, who killed her, and why?

Uncovering details of her life and her past reveal a woman with hidden depths and hidden miseries which are fundamental to the answers, but time has cast a thick veil over the killer’s identity. The lord Sheriff’s men have a trail that went cold over two decades ago, and evidence that contradicts itself. In a place Catchpoll knows inside out, he finds things new even to him, and then the case becomes personal.

The Bradecote and Catchpoll series are set in Worcestershire during the Anarchy of King Stephen’s reign, and commence in June 1143. They follow the investigations of Hugh Bradecote, a vassal lord of the Sheriff, William de Beauchamp, and the Sheriff’s Serjeant, the wily Catchpoll.

Catchpoll is ‘the professional’, having been ‘serjeanting’ for twenty years. He knows nearly all the low life of Worcester, and works on the principle that outside of thefts for survival and crimes of passion, criminals are mean bastards, and the way to keep crime under control is to prove you are a meaner bastard than they are. He is observant, can think clearly, and is, above all, pragmatic.

From the second book they are joined by Walkelin, whom Catchpoll has selected as his ‘serjeanting apprentice’.

This book is the seventh historical epistle, telling the tale of Serjeant Catchpoll and companion in overturning crime – Undersheriff Hugh Bradecote. Their series of adventures has something for everyone, mystery, crime, history, scandal and a real sense of its setting in both time and place. It is an enjoyable historical tale and no mistake, but I absolutely loved losing myself in it and immersing myself in the twists and turns of their adventures as this tale unfolded. You don’t need to have read the preceding six books, but it’s very likely that you’ll want to as soon as you’ve finished…

brown wooden handle bar on brown wooden table

Sarah Hawkswood has clearly put her heart and soul into researching this period, and this book shows off her impeccable research skills as she spares no effort in trying to recreate this time for us and brings us along with her on this unforgettable journey. These characters become living breathing people through these pages, and because of this, it’s easy to get engrossed in their story. Because I am a huge fan of historical fiction, I was delighted to discover a new author through this blog tour to get into and know that through reading this tale I could connect with this period in history in a very real way.

I loved the fact that these characters seem so modern – Catchpoll comes across as a man who was ahead of his time – someone who wants to beat the criminals who are in an abundance in the underbelly of the city at their own game and who understands this environment and is prepared to use the knowledge he has gained in order to solve these mysteries, regardless of how ethical his approach might or might not be…

grayscale photo of person holding lighted match stick

I found the way that Sarah Hawkswood effortlessly blends her research with real insight into the characters on the page to be stunningly well achieved and even though it is certainly not a slight book, I raced trough it in record time. I absolutely loved the way that this intriguing and original book transports you back into Catchpoll’s time and allows you to get to know these people right across the centuries. You do not have to be a fan of historical crime story to love this book and characters and you will be amazed at how much some of their thoughts and emotions will resonate with you – even though they were living breathing and loving so many centuries ago

gray concrete cathedral during night time

I love doing my research after finishing a book I’ve enjoyed and if you are intrigued by this story, you could find out more about another famous case from this era  here. You will be able to s read all about the man himself as well as get details of the tragedy that eventually unfolded. I loved reading about life for women during this period and it made me realise how much I didn’t know about this period in history – which is brought vividly to life on these pages and I enjoyed going down a few rabbit holes in my own research as soon as I finished reading it.

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If you are intrigued and would like to read more about this fascinating period then follow the blog tour and definitely buy yourself a copy of this fascinating and beautifully researched historical read as well as the others from this series, listed below. Thanks to Allison & Busby for inviting me onto the tour and introducing me to a new series to savour this winter.

The Bradecote and Catchpoll series, by Sarah Hawkswood, is published by Allison & Busby. They have a chronological order but also work as stand alone stories. T

here are currently six in print and as ebooks, and the seventh, River of Sins, will be published in November 2020. The eighth and ninth in the series will be published in 2021.

Read the synopses and titles of future investigations in the Novels section. You can read an extract from Servant of Death here, and the first chapter of Ordeal by Fire here. An extract from the audiobook of Servant of Death can be heard here and one for Ordeal by Fire is here. The third and fourth books in the series, Marked to Die and Hostage to Fortune arenow also available as audiobooks, with the fifth, Vale of Tears, coming out in August 2020.

The Bradecote and Catchpoll series are set in Worcestershire during the Anarchy of King Stephen’s reign, and commence in June 1143. They follow the investigations of Hugh Bradecote, a vassal lord of the Sheriff, William de Beauchamp, and the Sheriff’s Serjeant, the wily Catchpoll. Catchpoll is ‘the professional’, having been ‘serjeanting’ for twenty years. He knows nearly all the low life of Worcester, and works on the principle that outside of thefts for survival and crimes of passion, criminals are mean bastards, and the way to keep crime under control is to prove you are a meaner bastard than they are. He is observant, can think clearly, and is, above all, pragmatic. From the second book they are joined by Walkelin, whom Catchpoll has selected as his ‘serjeanting apprentice’.

Writer on the Shelf

Sarah Hawkswood describes herself as a ‘wordsmith’ who is only really happy when writing. She read Modern History at Oxford and first published a non-fiction book on the Royal Marines in the First World War before moving on to medieval mysteries set in Worcestershire

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