About Sinful Folk
• Paperback: 362 pages
• Publisher: Campanile Books (January 22, 2014)
Sinful Folk is the new historical novel from Ned Hayes, with cover and internal illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator and author Nikki McClure. Like Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent and Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders, Sinful Folk retells history from the perspective of a forgotten woman who finds her voice. An inspiring story of tenacity, perseverance and courage, Sinful Folk is based on real historical events.
In December of the year 1377, five children burned to death in a suspicious house fire. The historical record shows that a small band of villagers traveled 200 miles across England in midwinter to demand justice for their children’s deaths. Two hundred miles. In that time, an unimaginable distance for villagers who lived their entire lives only a few miles from their birthplace.
Sinful Folk is the story of this treacherous journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute and fearful man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village. When her son is killed, Mear wakes from her complacent life and undertakes a desperate journey.
The villagers travel across a harsh and unforgiving winter landscape. Propelled forward by a vision of justice, the villagers persevere in the face of bandit raids, ecclesiastical execution orders, starvation, kidnapping, and dissension in their own ranks.
The chief danger lies in their midst: Mear soon discovers that one of her fellow travelers lit the fire that burned the children for his own nefarious ends. Mear must not only uncover the murderer, but also stay alive long enough to reach London, where she can seek the king’s justice.
In the course of this pilgrimage, Mear finds old enemies, forgotten friends and hidden strengths. Mear’s long-hidden intelligence and authority gradually come to the forefront as her gender, her articulate insight and her lineage are unveiled—first to her fellow villagers and then to the world, as she enters the Star Chamber and, in the end, presents her case before the king’s court. Sinful Folk begins in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption.
Endorsed by bestselling historical novelists such as Karen Maitland (The Owl Killers, Company of Liars), Ella March Chase (The Virgin Queen’s Daughter), Brenda Vantrease (The Illuminator, The Heretic’s Wife), and William Dietrich (The Barbed Crown), Sinful Folk is a breakthrough novel that stakes a new claim for women’s historical fiction.
Sinful Folk is an inspiring story of a woman’s perseverance and courage in a stark medieval world: a riveting and suspenseful story told with lyrical beauty and unwavering vision. “Every reader will come to love the brave and intrepid Mear.” —award-winning author Jim Heynen (The Fall of Alice K.)
Praise for Sinful Folk
*Starred Review* “Brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed, Hayes’ novel is woven through with a deep knowledge of medieval history, all conveyed in mesmerizing prose. At the center of the novel is Mear, a brave and heartbreaking character whose story of triumph over adversity is a joy to read. — BookList Print Review – Joanne Wilkinson
“Riveting, poetic… a rich medieval tapestry of a story… relentless, intriguing, very authentic… with bittersweet redemption at the end of the journey. Medieval fans should like this.” -Historical Novel Reviews, Print Review: HNR #68, May 2014
“An exquisitely written historical thriller… Told by a brave and charismatic narrator who will twist your heart-strings with her story from the first page to final startling revelation. An amazing novel based on a truly fascinating, unsolved mystery of the Middle Ages.” -Karen Maitland, best-selling author of The Owl Killers and Company of Liars
“A pilgrim tale worthy of Chaucer, evocative, compelling and peopled with unforgettable characters artfully delivered by a master storyteller.” – Brenda Rickman Vantrease, best-selling author of The Illuminator and The Mercy Seller
“Brilliant, insightful, unflinching and wise. This spellbinding mystery will keep readers turning pages until the last sentence. Remarkable.” – Ella March Chase, best-selling author of The Virgin Queen’s Daughter and Three Maids for a Crown
About Ned Hayes
Ned Hayes first read Chaucer in graduate school, where he worked under noted medieval scholar Richard Emmerson. He has studied at Stanford University, Western Washington University, the Rainier Writing Workshop and the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and two children. Sinful Folk is his first story set in the medieval era. He is now at work on a new novel set in the 1300s.
Find out more about Ned at his website, follow him on Twitter, and see what he’s pinning on Pinterest. You can also read more about the book at its website, follow news of the book on Facebook, get quotes from the book on Pinterest.
Ned’s Tour Stops
Sunday, July 27th: You’ve GOTTA Read This!
Monday, August 4th: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book
Tuesday, August 5th: Words for Worms
Wednesday, August 6th: What She Read
Thursday, August 7th: M. Denise C.
Monday, August 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, August 13th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, August 14th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, August 18th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, August 19th: nightly reading
Thursday, August 21st: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, August 25th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, August 27th: BoundbyWords
Friday, August 29th: West Metro Mommy
Tuesday, September 2nd: Unabridged Chick