Hild: Book summary and reviews of Hild by Nicola Griffith

Hild

By Nicola Griffith

Hild
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2013,
    560 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Griffith goes boldly into the territory, lingering over landscape, wallowing in language, indulging the senses, mixing historical fact with feminist fiction in a sweeping panorama of peasants working, women weaving, children at play, and soldiers in battle: the Dark Ages transformed into a fantasy world of skirt and sword." - Publishers Weekly

"Griffith's Hild may be too remarkable to be true, but the novel provides a fascinating view of women's lives in the early Middle Ages, from their vital roles in textile production and keepers of the household to sleeping arrangements and sexuality." - Library Journal

"Griffith does admirable work in imagining and populating the ancient British world and all its to-us exotic customs, its deep learning, its devotion to magic and prophesy...Elegantly written - and with room for a sequel." - Kirkus

"You will never think of them as the Dark Ages again. Nicola Griffith's command of the era is worn lightly and delivered as a deeply engaging plot." - Neal Stephenson

"Hild is not just one of the best historical novels I have ever read - I think it's one of the best novels, period." - Dorothy Alison

"You could describe Hild as being like Game of Thrones without the dragons, but this is so much deeper than that, so much richer. A glorious, intensely passionate walk through an entirely real landscape, Hild leads us into the Dark Ages and makes them light, and tense, and edgy, and deeply moving." - Manda Scott

"What a fabulous book! Hild has all the joys of historical fiction - transportation into a strange, finely detailed world - along with complex characters and a beautiful evocation of the natural world." - Karen Joy Fowler

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Nicola Griffith is the award winning author of five novels and a memoir. A native of Yorkshire, England - now a dual U.S./U.K. citizen - she is a onetime self-defense instructor who turned to writing full-time upon being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1993. She lives with her wife, the writer Kelley Eskridge, in Seattle.

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