Announcing SINFUL FOLK, a new historical novel based on real events from 1377. By Ned Hayes, illustrated by New York Times bestseller Nikki McClure, Sinful Folk promises to be the breakthrough historical novel of 2014. (Appearing from Campanile Press in January 2014)

In the end, I listen to my fear. It keeps me awake, resounding through the frantic beating in my breast. It is there in the dry terror in my throat, in the pricking of the rats’ nervous feet in the darkness. Christian has not come home all the night long. I know, for I have lain in this darkness for hours now with my eyes stretched wide, yearning for my son’s return. On this night, I tell myself that the sound I hear is frost cracking, river ice breaking. I lie to my own heart, as one lies to a frightened child, one who cannot be saved. All the while, I know it is a fire. And I know how near it is.


So begins the enthralling mystery of Sinful Folk, already hailed as “A pilgrim tale worthy of Chaucer, evocative, compelling and peopled with unforgettable characters artfully delivered by a master storyteller”

(Brenda Vantrease, bestselling author of The Illuminator and The Mercy Seller).

DOWNLOAD the first three chapters at the links below:


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SINFUL FOLK is based on real historical events in 1377. Ned Hayes first came across a record of this incident in a graduate seminar on medieval literature and Geoffrey Chaucer, led by noted medieval scholar Richard Emmerson, and conceived the first page and the idea of this novel nearly ten years before he wrote the rest of the book.

SINFUL FOLK is the story of a mother who carries a hidden secret and a terrible grief. In December of the year 1377, the village of Duns in northeast England suffered a great tragedy when five children died. The villagers demanded justice from the King.

SINFUL FOLK is the story of these villagers who undertook a desperate mid-winter journey with their dead children all the way across England to the King’s throne. Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, has her own reasons for going along on this quest. Yet one by one, all her secrets come out, and she finds the strength to claim her birthright, and accuse the murderer.

SINFUL FOLK begins in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption.