Review published on August 27, 2017.
S.D. Sykes’ third novel to feature Oswald de Lacy, City of Masks, takes the Medieval investigator to 14th century Venice. This is an assured addition to the series but it is formidable enough to stand on its own merits. It snags the reader with a good hook, which it follows up confidently and consistently. It builds up its characters, seamlessly feeds in its backstory, and moves its narrative forward swiftly and with assurance.
Well researched historically, it sings with a sense of time and place. It injects by turns unease, urgency and humour. And there is plenty in the mix. It is well structured, with each piece falling into place one by one. But then beautifully the plot turns on a sixpence – so that nothing is what one held it to be!
This was an unalloyed joy; a flowing narrative, sharp well structured prose unblighted by excess adjectives, and a climax which only unmasked in the last few pages. A sure footed choice for an immersive read. Recommended.
Amanda Aldridge 5/5
City of Masks by S.D. Sykes
W.W. Norton & Company 9781681773421 hbk Aug 2017
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