Picador, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Jessica Maguire
he concept for this novel is interesting. Author Nicola Griffith has taken real events of the Early Middle Ages and filled in the blanks to compile the story of Hild, who became better known as Saint Hilda of Whitby.
he reader is taken through Hild's life, beginning as a young child just out of toddlerhood, through her days as a teenager. And Hild does have an interesting life. Just prior to her birth, her mother had a vision of her youngest daughter being the light of the world. And at a young age the youngest niece of the king (Hild) became his seer.
ild's job is dangerous and means life or death for those around her. And King Edwin desires nothing more than to become the overking of the Angles. Therefore, Hild must not lead the king astray. However, there seems to be a question of whether Hild really does see the future or if she is just intuitive.
hose who have studied medieval literature and history will be well suited for this novel. I have studied medieval literature in university, so I am familiar with some of the names, the area, and the history. However, it does get confusing as this novel is a mix of fact and fiction.
he reader will do well to take a good look at the family tree and map of seventh century Britain included in the first several pages of the book. Prudent readers will also be wise to read the Author's note about pronunciation (at the conclusion of the novel) prior to diving into this long, tedious read.
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