During the 1200s in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable middle-aged Irishwoman and the troupe she leads are trying to drive their three wagons across the mountains before the heavy snows set in. Molly, her powerful and enigmatic lover, her fey granddaughter, and her young apprentice, soon discover that something terrible prowls the woods. As the group travels from refuge to refuge, it becomes apparent that the mysterious evil force must be faced and defeated - or else they will surely die.
An intoxicating and spirited blend of fantasy, mythology, and history, Something Red features the most fascinating of characters including shapeshifters, Irish battle queens, Norman knights, Templars, pilgrims, Saracens, a Lithuanian noblewoman, warrior monks, strong - even dangerous - women, and ten murderous mastiffs, as well as an epic snowstorm that an early reader described as "one of the coldest scenes since Snow Falling on Cedars."
Something Red is not your run-of-the-mill horror novel, and is more likely to appeal to historical fiction readers than to horror aficionados. Nicholas’s beautiful prose, his detailed portrayal of life in medieval England, interesting characters, and underlying supernatural themes make this book a real gem. It’s without doubt one of my favorites of the year and I eagerly await the next entry in what I hope will be a series. (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).
Starred Review. Rich in historical detail, this suspenseful coming-of-age fantasy grabs the reader with the facts of life in medieval England and the magic spells woven into its landscape.
Starred Review. A hauntingly affecting historical novel with a touch of magic." - Kirkus "Not for the faint of heart, this pulse-pounding page-turner grabs you from the start and never lets you go. A wickedly clever and evocative combination of history, horror, mystery, and magic.
Starred Review. A hauntingly affecting historical novel with a touch of magic.
Ably conjuring the beauties and drawbacks of the past, and with an engaging and unusual cast-list, Something Red is a thoroughbred novel of nightmare terror, ruled by a force of sheer evil that seems, and may well prove, unstoppable.
Something Red is set in 13th century England, in the latter part of what is known as England's High Middle Ages (essentially the time period from the Norman conquest in 1066 to the end of the reign of the last Norman king in 1272).
Although English life was beginning to change with the gradual development of cities, the economy was still mostly agrarian in the 1200s, with 90% of the population (estimated to be around four million people in 1300 AD) making their living off the land, either as farmers (growing wheat for personal use or other grain crops to feed livestock) or herders (mostly sheep and goats). Villages and towns primarily served as commercial centers that were reached by poorly maintained mud roads; the only large city was London with an estimated population of 35,000. Overseas trade was just beginning, with the main export being wool.*
According to the University of Wisconsin, the king and the nobility (which included high-ranking clergy such as abbots and bishops) were at the top of the social structure, with about 200 individuals...
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