Reviewed under original title 'The Lord Bishop's Clerk'
"Sarah Hawkswood’s superb debut ... Hawkswood’s previous work has been as a military historian – and how it shows with magnificent attention to period detail bringing 12th century Pershore and abbey life to the page in almost a scenic way … All-in-all this is a clever, very well written and extremely enjoyable murder mystery. I absolutely loved it!" Crime Review
"This convincing medieval murder mystery is set during a time of rivalry for the English throne by William the Conqueror’s grandchildren, and Hawkswood leaves the reader guessing to the well-written end." Historical Novel Society
"... possibly the most easy to read historical mystery of the year. Whether it’s action, reflection, deep personal feelings, description or even repeated gossip, her elegant and carefully chosen prose keep you glued to the page. She creates a medieval world of her own – and drags the reader deeply into it ... This is as much a tale of personalities, relationships and ambitions as it is of murder and Hawkswood’s ability to bring even her most minor characters to vivid and realistic life gives it a must-read quality. It will be interesting to see how these characters develop through the series." Crime Review
"The author’s detailed research is obvious without ever overwhelming the narrative, and the details of everyday life in medieval Worcester provide fascinating background and the hint of many future outings for the duo. Ordeal by Fire is an ideal choice for fans of Ariana Franklin, Peter Tremayne and S.D. Sykes." Historical Novel Society
"Ordeal by Fire does not flinch from describing the ugly reality of life in the 12th Century: families left destitute when their businesses are destroyed, healthy young women dying in childbirth, orphaned girls being forced into prostitution to feed younger siblings and the ugly prejudice that will let a Jewish man’s house burn while no-one in the crowd lifts a finger to aid him.
I found the characters and description of medieval life in Ordeal by Fire thoroughly engaging and the book is beautifully written. I would whole-heartedly recommend it. A page-turner." Mystery People
"If you like Ellis Peter’s excellent Cadfael books, you’re sure to enjoy this. The research and writing is first class, but what I feel truly gives it an edge is the dynamic between Bradecote and Catchpoll, readers will really take to them." Destructive Music
Myshelf.com - In Rachel A Hyde's Top 10 books of the year.