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The Siege Winter Audiobook

The Siege Winter: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

A powerful historical novel by the late Ariana Franklin and her daughter Samantha Norman, The Siege Winter is a tour de force mystery and murder, adventure and intrigue, a battle for a crown, told by two courageous young women whose fates are intertwined in 12th century England's devastating civil war.

1141. England is engulfed in war as King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda, vie for the crown. In this dangerous world, not even Emma, an 11-year-old peasant, is safe. A depraved monk obsessed with redheads kidnaps the ginger-haired girl from her village and leaves her for dead. When an archer for hire named Gwyl finds her, she has no memory of her previous life. Unable to abandon her, Gwyl takes the girl with him, dressing her as a boy, giving her a new name - Penda - and teaching her to use a bow. But Gwyn knows that the man who hurt Penda roams free, and that a scrap of evidence she possesses could be very valuable.

Gwyl and Penda make their way to Kenilworth, a small but strategically important fortress that belongs to 15-year-old Maud. Newly wedded to a boorish and much older husband after her father's death, the fierce and determined young chatelaine tempts fate and Stephen's murderous wrath when she gives shelter to the empress.

Aided by a garrison of mercenaries, including Gwyl and his odd red-headed apprentice, Maud will stave off Stephen's siege for a long, brutal winter that will bring a host of visitors to Kenilworth - kings, soldiers... and a sinister monk with deadly business to finish.

©2015 Samantha Norman (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

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  •  
    South Carolina Senior 03-06-15 Member Since 2012

    South Carolina Senior Citizen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Please give us more books!"
    If you could sum up The Siege Winter in three words, what would they be?

    I didn't want it to end. It was an emotional roller coaster. I loved the female characters - strong, but vulnerable. I loved the humor of the book. The book brought the period of 12th century history to life, the complete and total chaos of a country ruled by anarchy - absence of law. Please give us more books!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gwill was my favorite character. He was solid, competent and loyal, a real old-fashioned hero. But I loved the humor of Maude. Pender's character created the emotional distress of the book, a little girl, who had endured a horror, that tied the entire book together. As a real-life mother of a girl, it was the worst nightmare of a parent. Her character created the strong physical reaction to the book.


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

    The reader was fabulous. Excellent accents. Excellent oral interpretation. Will search for more books read by this author.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had a physical reaction to the book. It upset my stomach, tightened my chest and interfered with my sleep - an emotional roller coaster.


    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pam United States 06-04-15
    Pam United States 06-04-15 Member Since 2016

    Science writer in America's heartland

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fits perfectly with Mistress in the Art of Death"

    This book is written by the daughter of Ariana Franklin, one of my very favorite authors. Samantha Norman captured her mother's voice perfectly, and I didn't want to stop listening to this book. (I was also very happy to find out that Norman is going to continue writing her mother's series, "Mistress in the Art of Death." I very much want to know how that storyline turns out!) As a stand-alone book, "The Siege Winter" doesn't require any familiarity with the "Mistress in the Art of Death" series, but it confronts some of the same societal issues—in particular class and gender equality—in the context of a richly constructed historical narrative.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MxH San Tan Valley, AZ, United States 04-04-15
    MxH San Tan Valley, AZ, United States 04-04-15 Member Since 2012

    I am a voracious reader of all fiction genres and poetry. I occasionally venture into humor, history, and science. I loathe self-help books.

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    "Pleasant Listen, Above Average Writing"

    Above average writing especially considering Norman finished Franklin's work after Franklin died. Historical relevance, character development, and plot are nicely balanced. Kate Reading delivers the story and characters with a clear, strong voice. The subject might not appeal to everyone, but the book should be on the list of any reader who enjoys historical fiction set in the Middle Ages.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-26-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "True Ariana Franklin"

    I thought I'd read all of A F books & grieved to have lost such talent. I don't know how much her daughter contributed to this book, but as soon as I finish writing this review, I'm going to do a search to find out if she has written any other books!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Jester 04-26-15
    Gail Jester 04-26-15 Member Since 2010
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    "This is a very absorbing story and well written."

    i hope we see more historical novels from this talented author.. I really love the character's and the back story is gripping. not to mention the. interesting historical. period backdrop.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    analyzethis USA, Europe, M.E. 11-24-15
    analyzethis USA, Europe, M.E. 11-24-15
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    "Escape fiction at its best"

    Really enjoyed everything about this, nice story line, good and unusual setting, and great performance by the reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurel 11-11-15
    Laurel 11-11-15

    I am a retired teacher who listens because she is vision impaired and can no longer read. I love history, a touch of fantasy, and mystery!

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    "A Personal Sory"

    I read a lot of "historical" fiction. Most in Britain or Scotland, and often in the same time period, 12th Century. The wars between Kung Steven and Empress Matilda are frequently aback drop of Hesse books. This is different because the story is being recorded as it is told by a dying Abbott. He doesn't tell the story from his view but from that if a young girl he had known.

    I enjoyed learning more about the ole of cross bows and archers.I also enjoyed the inside look at a feudal castle and a siege. Very enjoyable. I wish it were a series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zenjen 09-10-15
    Zenjen 09-10-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Beautiful, tragic and deeply moving."

    Damn her for dying! Ariana Franklin has become not just my favorite historical fiction author but my favorite author ever.

    The book? Wonderful historical fiction that makes you feel like you are there. Brilliant characters, all complex and compelling. Her villains are always very disturbing and vile. The first person narrative moves around so you get both outside and inside perspectives, s technique I loved. This brilliant book is matched by the perfect narration by Kate Reading - simply amazing.

    Enjoy! And then go listen to all her other books - they are all equally great.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Needles 07-16-15
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    "15July15"

    Absolute must read. Ariana Franklin is one of my favorite authors. So, I expected this book to be like her others; it's not. But you're going to like the tapestry of words the authors have woven; so richly done the colors of the storyline crystallize before your minds eye.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loud Librarian Kansas USA 06-24-15
    Loud Librarian Kansas USA 06-24-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Didn't want it to end!"

    Enthralling story with unforgettable characters. Set during the English Civil War in the 12th century, a period I was unfamiliar with but now I want to know more. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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