Book Beginnings & The Friday 56: Servant of Death by Sarah Hawkswood

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading. You can also share from a book you want to highlight just because it caught your fancy.

Servant of Death is one of the books I’ve recently borrowed from the library. It’s historical crime fiction set in 1143 in Pershore Abbey, the first in the series of Bradecote and Catchpoll Mysteries set in the twelfth century, in Worcestershire.  

The Book Begins:

Elias of St Edmondsbury, master mason, stood with the heat of the midsummer sun on broad back and thinning pate, rivulets of sweat trickling down between his shoulder blades. The wooden scaffolding clasped the north transept of the abbey church, close as ivy.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to Page 56 or 56% on your  ereader . If you have to improvise, that is okay. *Find a snippet, short and sweet, but no spoilers!

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

‘He dropped to his knees, careful to avoid the dark, sticky stain, and slid his hand beneath the corpse. Feeling around tentatively, he was relieved to find the cords of the monk’s scrip, and followed them to the leather bag, which was still full. Whoever had killed him had not had time or inclination to investigate it.


The much-feared and hated Eudo – the Lord Bishop of Winchester’s clerk – is bludgeoned to death in Pershore Abbey and laid before the altar in the attitude of a penitent. Everyone who had contact with him had reason to dislike him, but who had reason to kill him? The Sheriff of Worcestershire’s thief taker, wily Serjeant Catchpoll, and his new and unwanted superior, Undersheriff Hugh Bradecote, have to find the answer. And as the claustrophobic walls of the Abbey close in on the suspects, the killer strikes again.

This is the first book by Sarah Hawkswood that I’ve come across.

About Sarah Hawkswood, a pen name.

Sarah Hawkswood read Modern History at Oxford University and specialised in Military History and Theory of War. She turned from writing military history to mediaeval murder mysteries set in the turmoil of The Anarchy in the mid 12thC, all located in Worcestershire, where she now lives. The Bradecote & Catchpoll series began with Servant of Death (previously published as The Lord Bishop’s Clerk) and the ninth, Wolf at the Door, was published in August 2021 with the tenth, A Taste for Killing, due out in 2022.


What have you been reading lately?

11 thoughts on “Book Beginnings & The Friday 56: Servant of Death by Sarah Hawkswood

  1. This sounds interesting, Margaret! Just from the bit you’ve shared, it sounds as though Hawkswood has ‘done the homework’ and can create an authentic atmosphere for the story. And it sounds like an interesting mystery, too. I hope you’re enjoying it!

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  2. Great quotes. It sounds like an interesting read. I am always interested in historical fiction, but it is not easy to find such crime fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

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