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Hild

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Hild Cover

ISBN13: 9780374280871
ISBN10: 0374280878
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 kings 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.

Review:

"Award-winning LGBT author Griffith brings a sci-fi appreciation for alien culture and a woman's perspective to this fictional coming-of-age story about real-life Saint Hilda of Whitby, who grew up pagan in seventh-century Britain. Daughter of a poisoned prince and a crafty noblewoman, quiet, bright-minded Hild arrives at the court of King Edwin of Northumbria, where the six-year-old takes on the role of seer/consiglieri for a monarch troubled by shifting allegiances and Roman emissaries attempting to spread their new religion. Eventually Hild is baptized along with Edwin — a scene Griffith depicts as less about spirituality than pomp and politics. Puberty's sexual awakening soon follows, propelling Hild toward her slave girl, then the former girlfriend of Hild's longtime boyfriend, Cian, who teaches Hild swordsmanship and other manly skills. Britain in the years after Rome is a relatively undiscovered country for historical fiction. 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. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, The Gernert Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“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. Her insight into human nature and eye for telling detail is as keen as that of the extraordinary Hild herself. The novel resonates to many of the same chords as Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones — to the extent that Hild begins to feel like the classic on which those books are based.” Neal Stephenson

Review:

“Nicola Griffith is an awe-inspiring visionary, and I am telling everyone to snatch this book up. Hild is not just one of the best historical novels I have ever read — I think it's one of the best novels, period. It sings with pitch-perfect emotional resonance, and I damn well believe in this woman and everyone she engages. I finished the book full of gratitude that it exists, and longing for more.” Dorothy Alison

Review:

“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

Review:

“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. But the tensions of the gathering plot make Hild feel like a quick read — too quick! I fell into this world completely and was sorry to come out. Truly, truly remarkable.” Karen Joy Fowler

About the Author

Nicola Griffith is a native of Yorkshire, England, where she earned her beer money teaching womens self-defense, fronting a band, and arm-wrestling in bars. In 1993 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her novels are AmmoniteSlow RiverThe Blue PlaceStay, and Always. Her writing has appeared in Nature, New Scientist, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other places. Her awards include the Tiptree, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, the Premio Italia, and the Lambda Literary Award (six times) — most recently for her memoir, And Now We Are Going to Have a Party. Griffith lives with her partner, the writer Kelley Eskridge, in Seattle, Washington.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

alisa11, May 19, 2014 (view all comments by alisa11)
This is now my favorite. Favorite novel, favorite historical fiction, favorite Nicola Griffith product. I keep seeing the word "transported" in reviews of this novel and it is so apropos. The story telling takes you there, her descriptions are so vivid, you can see it, feel it, smell it, and be there! And it is a full view of the culture, not just a male dominated “men on horses, history book” story. Everything from cooking, weaving, planting, creating a hedge, smithing to medicine is delved into. It is so very rich!! The only thing that made me sigh was that it ended and the next book is not done yet.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Marjorie Madonne, May 5, 2014 (view all comments by Marjorie Madonne)
Nicola Griffith has written a gorgeous book about a girl in Anglo-Saxon times in England. Hild is clever, and she's the niece of a king -- but she's a GIRL, in an era that values women mainly as bearers of children, and, in the case of girls of royal blood, as "peace weavers," who can be traded off in marriage to cement political alliances. Hild does not particularly aspire to either career path. However, she has an out -- her mother had a dream when she was pregnant that she was bearing a child of great promise, who would be "the light of the world." Everybody assumes this child will be a boy. When Hild is born, the common reaction is, But how can a girl be "the light of the world"? Hild's clever mother, Beguswirth, fosters the belief that Hild carries some sort of magic -- she can read minds, predict the future. Beguswirth trains her in the arts of observation and analysis, of which Beguswirth herself is no mean pracitioner. Hild's Uncle Edwin, the king of Northumbria, who's busy trying to make himself "overking" of the island, takes her on as his "seer" when she's still a child. Hild grows up as a remarkable young girl in a land that mixes civilization and barbarity. Many things are changing -- the new Christian religion is penetrating England, displacing the old gods. Hild herself becomes a Christian. But there is no sign yet of the future Saint Hilda. Hild has mystical leanings, but none that are specific to Christianity; she is baptized, along with most of the Northumbrian court, as yet another one of Edwin's political ploys, The book ends with the promise of a sequel, which I'm looking forward to.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
SAH, February 3, 2014 (view all comments by SAH)
From the moment I began reading Hild I was transported to 7th century Great Britain, a time of Anglo-Saxon under kings and power struggles. The story revolves around St Hild of Whitby who was instrumental in the conversion of Britain to Christianity- but this is no dry historical recounting.

Griffith's writing is laden with the words, phrases and nuances of Old English spun in such a way as to detail daily life to the point where the reader's five senses are engaged. She recounts the times through the eyes of Hild, from age three on, in way that strengthens and enriches her characters into complex and often contradictory people we feel we know and understand.

While this is a fictionalized history,it transcends the genre and I found it to be a mixture of history, fantasy and adventure.

I really hope people give this book chance- the language can be a bit tricky in the beginning, but it gets easier as you go along and really- its wonderful.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374280871
Author:
Griffith, Nicola
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20131112
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Hild New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$27.00 In Stock
Product details 560 pages Farrar, Straus and Giroux - English 9780374280871 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Award-winning LGBT author Griffith brings a sci-fi appreciation for alien culture and a woman's perspective to this fictional coming-of-age story about real-life Saint Hilda of Whitby, who grew up pagan in seventh-century Britain. Daughter of a poisoned prince and a crafty noblewoman, quiet, bright-minded Hild arrives at the court of King Edwin of Northumbria, where the six-year-old takes on the role of seer/consiglieri for a monarch troubled by shifting allegiances and Roman emissaries attempting to spread their new religion. Eventually Hild is baptized along with Edwin — a scene Griffith depicts as less about spirituality than pomp and politics. Puberty's sexual awakening soon follows, propelling Hild toward her slave girl, then the former girlfriend of Hild's longtime boyfriend, Cian, who teaches Hild swordsmanship and other manly skills. Britain in the years after Rome is a relatively undiscovered country for historical fiction. 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. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, The Gernert Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “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. Her insight into human nature and eye for telling detail is as keen as that of the extraordinary Hild herself. The novel resonates to many of the same chords as Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones — to the extent that Hild begins to feel like the classic on which those books are based.”
"Review" by , “Nicola Griffith is an awe-inspiring visionary, and I am telling everyone to snatch this book up. Hild is not just one of the best historical novels I have ever read — I think it's one of the best novels, period. It sings with pitch-perfect emotional resonance, and I damn well believe in this woman and everyone she engages. I finished the book full of gratitude that it exists, and longing for more.”
"Review" by , “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!”
"Review" by , “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. But the tensions of the gathering plot make Hild feel like a quick read — too quick! I fell into this world completely and was sorry to come out. Truly, truly remarkable.”
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