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Hild: A Novel | [Nicola Griffith]

Hild: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 over-king 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.

©2013 Nicola Griffith (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (66 )
5 star
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4.0 (61 )
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4.1 (59 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Geza Kamuela, HI, USA 12-29-13
    Geza Kamuela, HI, USA 12-29-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    17
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    "Not the Best Audio Book"
    If you could sum up Hild in three words, what would they be?

    Excellent historical novel.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Insight into how a "see-er" unraveled the patterns of the times.


    Any additional comments?

    Because of all the unfamiliar names, places and terminology, Hild was not the best candidate for an audio book. I wanted to see a reference map for 7th century Great Britain so I could understand where the various kingdoms were. I needed a glossary for all the unusual terms, and a genealogy chart would have been helpful, too. I wanted to page back to look at names, and couldn't do it. The story was lovely, engaging, well written and well read - but I think I would have enjoyed an e-book or hard cover edition of Hild much more than an audio rendition.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Woburn , MA, USA 03-27-14
    David Woburn , MA, USA 03-27-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    4
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    0
    0
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    Story
    "I'd give it 10 stars if I could"
    Where does Hild rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Probably the best.


    What other book might you compare Hild to and why?

    It's been described as "Game of Thrones without the dragons" and that's fairly accurate. But the writing is just beautiful, and the women are richly realized.


    What does Pearl Hewitt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She's got a gorgeous voice, and does a great job with choosing various contemporary UK or Ireland accents for the characters. I particularly enjoyed her performance of the narrator's ditzy friend Begu. She also reads like she admires and enjoys the prose, which is indeed worthy of it.


    Any additional comments?

    There's no supernatural elements in this book, just people who believe in the supernatural (Christ included), so if you're expecting a fantasy book, bear that in mind. Also, there's a lot of dynastic politics and geopolitical maneuvering, which can sometimes be hard to follow in audio format as one tries to keep track of names and places. Griffith's website has lots of resources, including maps and a family tree. The book felt real and vivid, totally immersing me in its world. What a place to visit!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justdar Oakland, CA 07-20-14
    Justdar Oakland, CA 07-20-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent book in all formats!"
    Where does Hild rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The details were fascinating, and as dense as it was at times, every detail furthered the story.


    Which character – as performed by Pearl Hewitt – was your favorite?

    Hild


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaina Frederick, OK, United States 12-20-13
    Elaina Frederick, OK, United States 12-20-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    Story
    "Dreadful!"
    What would have made Hild better?

    There is no hope


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Sleep


    Any additional comments?

    I usually love historical fiction but this book knocked me out faster than a sleeping pill.

    3 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carly KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 01-06-14
    Carly KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 01-06-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'm not sure what just happened"
    Would you try another book from Nicola Griffith and/or Pearl Hewitt?

    No, I don't think so.


    Has Hild turned you off from other books in this genre?

    This received such good reviews, especially with the promise of a queer female character but the story lost me.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was really disappointed. I thought that there would have been more layers to Hild. I would have like there to be more of a fantasy element, or at least have Hild be more of a Joan of Arc character.


    0 of 11 people found this review helpful
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