Book - 2013
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A brilliant, lush, sweeping historical novel about the rise of the most powerful woman of the Middle Ages: Hild

In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, frequently and violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods are struggling, their priests worrying. Hild is the king's youngest niece, and she has a glimmering mind and a natural, noble authority. She will become a fascinating woman and one of the pivotal figures of the Middle Ages: Saint Hilda of Whitby.

But now she has only the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world--of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing her surroundings closely and predicting what will happen next--that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her.

Her uncle, Edwin of Northumbria, plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief. Hild establishes a place for herself at his side as the king's seer. And she is indispensable--unless she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, for her family, for her loved ones, and for the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.

Hild is a young woman at the heart of the violence, subtlety, and mysticism of the early Middle Ages--all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith's luminous prose. Working from what little historical record is extant, Griffith has brought a beautiful, brutal world to vivid, absorbing life.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780374280871
Characteristics: viii, 546 p. :,map


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Loved it! I never read the glossary; anything I cannot get in context I just go with. (I prefer a book completely written in dialect that you have to kind of figure out). In this particular book I found the use of “wyrd” (loosely destiny) to be quite satisfying. I liked the way this book unfolded. it kind of reminded me of Mists of Avalon/Fifth Sacred Thing in the way it was kind of a revisionist fictional history -

cals_moviebrooks Mar 02, 2016

Nicola Griffith uncompromisingly immerses the reader in a world of pastoral beauty, savage violence, bawdy humor, luscious food, strong alcohol, intense sexuality, and complex politics. All this is experienced by Hild, from age 3 to age 18, as she travels with the court of an ambitious warlord in 7th century Britain. The smattering of old English words and the large cast of characters can make this novel a bit daunting at first, but much like Frank Herbert's DUNE, it eventually creates an exotic world you'll want to return to repeatedly

Dec 25, 2015

Hild, the short version: Feathered clouds trailed across the pewter sky. Jackdaws cartwheeled and cawed. Hild stood proud in her royal blue dress. She called for her gemaece. Gesiths grumbled as she passed. Mud. Envy. A threat. Where was Cian? Gwladus? She reached for her seax. Grip. Swing. Thrust. Blood. So much blood. Fate goes as ever it must. My wyrd. I am the light of the world.

Chapel_Hill_AmandaG May 25, 2015

I wanted to love this book! There are not many historical fiction books out there that take place in the early middle ages and this time period is one of my favorites! Griffith gets a gold star for the huge amount of research she did when writing this book. However, it did make for a dense and heavily detailed book. Griffith frequently used old English words in the story and I was almost constantly referencing the glossary in the back, especially in the beginning. I am glad that I picked this up because it is such an unique book, but it was a challenging read!

Dec 18, 2014

If you like in-depth, biographical, historical novels you might like this title. Portraying the world of a young girl coming of age during the period when Christianity meets the old gods of 7th century England, it is full of intrigue, mysticism, and subtlety. For fans of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and other sweeping histories of the early British monarchy.

m2 Aug 04, 2014

A medieval novel of St. Hilda of Witby's early life -- but that doesn't do this book justice. It is better to say, a science fiction novel about a seer who can predict the future when she is a young girl, an extraordinarily bright, merciless warrior who loves -- her half-brother. Like science fiction, Griffith's book does its world building without conceding anything to the reader (tho' there is a glossary, I would skip it; it is thrilling to race along, trying to figure out where you are and what is being said.) The closest book I have read to this is Sarah Monette's Melusine.

Run, don't walk, to your nearest book store or library and ask for Hild

rowanquincy Jun 13, 2014

A good read. Lots of historical details and characters make this a dense read. The author really made the past come alive. Hope there is a sequel.

Jun 06, 2014

This is a beautiful, meandering story of the imagined childhood of Saint Hild of Whitby.

Set in a time when Christianity was replacing the old Pagan religions with the help of the political machinations of the British royalty, the pace of the story lets you get immersed in the life and times of the powerful of 8th century Britain.

I loved this story. The characters were fascinating, even those with small parts to play are not left to be cardboard cutouts but are given life and personality. The setting was portrayed and described with enough definition to engross but not bore and the writing was stunning. Highly recommended.

May 05, 2014

This is a beautifully written, captivating story. I couldn't put it down.

Apr 03, 2014

Really enjoyed this novel, including the dense historical and environmental detail (a drawback for a small number of readers commenting on goodreads.com). Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction. Will be ordering my own copy to keep.

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