I'm always intrigued by novels that are inspired by tiny snippets of historical events.
A sliver of history taken as a seed with enough facts to place it in a believable context can be a rich seam for a skilled author. Ned Hayes has not only recreated a dark period of British history, but has also taken little-known facts and wrapped them in a heart-wrenching tale of loss, vengeance, treachery and grief. Sinful Folk is not a happy read overall, and it shouldn't be when set in the Dark Ages. The flashes of joy, hope and friendship in the tale shine all the brighter for its harrowing setting.
Nikki McClure's chapter-heading artwork adds to the atmosphere. The black and white, wood-block style illustrations seem hewn from the source material itself.
The book's description tells you all you need to know about the story, but it is the research, careful crafting of language and moulding of historical events that really raises this novel above the rest. If you like your storytelling to be well-written, with a steady pace, full of richness and fleshed-out with believable characters and a living world, then Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes is a must read.
I'll be looking out for new works by this author.
Sinful folk was available at OpenBooks.com, but the site seems to have been abandoned. Pages are not loading properly and I haven't received responses to my queries.
Find out more about Sinful Folk at Ned Hayes' website.