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Hild

A Novel

Nicola Griffith

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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 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.

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THE CHILD’S WORLD CHANGED late one afternoon, though she didn’t know it. She lay at the edge of the hazel coppice, one cheek pressed to the moss that smelt of worm cast and the last of the sun, listening: to the wind in the elms, rushing away from the day, to the jackdaws changing their calls from “Outward! Outward!” to “Home now! Home!,” to the rustle of the last frightened shrews scuttling under the layers of leaf fall before the owls began their hunt. From far away came the indignant honking of geese as the goosegirl herded them back
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REVIEWS

Praise for Hild

“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

“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

“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

“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

In the Press

The Language of Hild | Work in Progress
Words matter. They're like icebergs; nine-tenths of their meaning lies beneath the surface. But that hidden meaning has mass, it has momentum. A single word can crush your pretty sentence, or paragraph or even scene, like tin.
- FSG's Work in Progress
‘Hild,’ by Nicola Griffith - The Washington Post
A new novel with a title character based on St. Hilda of Whitby introduces a new sort of female hero.
- The Washington Post
Work in Progress » Blog Archive » Nicola Griffith & Sean McDonald
Authors and Editors in Conversation   Sean McDonald: So, 7th-century England! How did that happen? Your last novel was a distinctly 21st-century crime novel.
- FSG's Work in Progress
The Makers of Britain 
When I was nine, the library I went to divided books not by age-appropriateness but by shelf height. If I could reach it…
- Medium.com

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Nicola Griffith

  • Nicola Griffith is the award winning author of five novels and a memoir. A native of Yorkshire, England—now a dual U.S./U.K. citizen—she is a onetime self-defense instructor who turned to writing full-time upon being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1993. She lives with her wife, the writer Kelley Eskridge, in Seattle.

  • Nicola Griffith Jennifer Durham
    Nicola Griffith
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    Available Formats and Book Details

    Hild

    A Novel

    Nicola Griffith

    Seattle Times Best Books of the Year, James Tiptree, Jr. Award Honor List, Nebula Awards - Nominee, Lambda Literary Award - Nominee
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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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