Hild

by Nicola Griffith
Release date: November 2013
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, history, mainstream

Nebula Award nominee 2014.

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

Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.

Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has 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 human nature and predicting what will happen next — that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable — until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and 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 medieval age — all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith’s luminous prose. Recalling such feats of historical fiction as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Hild brings a beautiful, brutal world — and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby — to vivid, absorbing life.

(updated 2014-09-26)

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