The award-winning author Nicola Griffith's 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.
“One of the best novels, period.” —Dorothy Allison
“Truly, truly remarkable.” —Karen Joy Fowler
“Extraordinary...[Hild] resonates to many of the same chords as Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones.” —Neal Stephenson
“Hild is a book as loving as it is fierce, brilliant, and accomplished. To read it felt like a privilege and a gift.” —NPR
“Terrific… Griffith has taken what little is known of the life of St. Hilda and imagined a vibrant, if brutal, world... Hild [is] a pleasure to sink into.” —The Washington Post
“Sharp as steel, clear as garnet, essential and sensual and right, Griffith's telling of Hild's adventures offers us something far better than mere comfort: the lure of the sublime.” —The Seattle Times
“Splendid...I can hardly wait for the next.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“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. The research is flawless, the characters fully alive. If it wasn't like this, it should have been--and I'm sure that it was!” —Manda Scott