Author:Griffith, Nicola
Position:Book review

Nicola Griffith has won the Nebula, James Tiptree, Jr., and World Fantasy Awards, and six Lambdas for science fiction and crime novels and short fiction that includes Down the Path of the Sun (1990), Ammonite (1993), and Always (2007). Set in the seventh century, Hild examines the life of the powerful and misunderstood St. Hilda of Whitby, a real-life medieval British saint.

The Story: From conception, Hild was different. Her mother, Breguswith of Kent, dreamed that her young daughter would be "the light of the world." But the family will come to great grief first, and Breguswith, herself a cunning manipulator, moves her two daughters to the court of her uncle, the presumptive King Edwin of Northumbria. Hild, known as a seer and even a witch for her astute observation of human nature, is indoctrinated into a world that may not be ready for a woman as assured and strong as she. "I want to learn, to wander and ask and think and listen," she muses, "like a priest or a prince." Therein lies the conflict in the patriarchal realm of seventh-century England.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 560 pages. $27. ISBN: 9780374280871


"By taking us back to the England of warring tribes where Hild came of age, Griffith is able to evoke a world so different from our own that it's almost alien. ... This is one of the truly great novels of the past year." ANNALE NEWITIZ


"Hild is a book as loving as it is fierce, brilliant and accomplished. To read it felt like a privilege and a gift." AMAL EL-MOHTAR


"Griffith clearly owns an extraordinary talent for building realistic future worlds. She has used that skill now to build a tangible past, with great success." ANNIE FRAZIER

Seattle Times

"It's the book's sheer beauty that will most astonish readers. ... Sharp as steel, clear as garnet, essential and sensual and right, Griffith's telling of Hild's adventures offers us something far better than mere comfort: the lure of the sublime." NISI SHAWL

Washington Post

"Griffith has taken what little is known of the life of St. Hilda and imagined a vibrant, if brutal, world. Her descriptions are inventive and...

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