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By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson (Sample)

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson (Sample)

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4.13

(19)
|Views: 616 |Likes:
Published by Marcher Lord Press
Half of Er'Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them.

It's called bloodvoicing. Some say it's a gift. One of the newly "gifted" wish it had never come.

Achan has been a slave all his life. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities--and a different kind of voice is calling them both
Half of Er'Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them.

It's called bloodvoicing. Some say it's a gift. One of the newly "gifted" wish it had never come.

Achan has been a slave all his life. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities--and a different kind of voice is calling them both

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Publish date: Apr 2009
Added to Scribd: Oct 20, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/21/2013

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merechristian reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Recently on the web site Speculative Faith, there was a debate about the tone of fantasy and other “speculative” Christian fiction, and how “gritty” or “realistic” it should be. This debate can apply to secular speculative fiction, as well. It was basically the debate over whether something had to be “darker and edgier” to be real and true to life. I took up the argument that, sometimes, yes it did. I was wrong. I see that now after reading By Darkness Hid, the first book of The Blood of Kings series by author Jill Williamson.Williamson tells a story that is believable and has a sense of authenticity, despite it's fantasy elements; and she also makes no use of pointless swearing, sexual innuendo, gory violence, or scatological references to do so. There are some darker elements, but they are presented tastefully, and not in a gratuitous manner. More on this in a few moments.The basic story, without giving too much away, is that a “stray” (an orphaned boy or girl who are banished into a status of slavery even lower than that of other slaves), named Achan Cham, yearns for a better life so he can marry the peasant girl he desperately loves. Yet this is impossible, he knows, for strays can never be anything more than what they are, especially since some of them were implicated in the murder of the king nearly two decades earlier.As he goes about his horrible life, enduring constant menial tasks and endless beatings that seem to be done just for sake of beating him, he is surprised when he is chosen for squire training by perhaps the most renowned knight of all of Er'rets (the country where this takes place), Sir Gavin Lukos, called the “Great White Wolf”. He wonders why Gavin would risk the trouble of breaking the law (against training strays for knighthood), and if Gavin truly can pull him out of his bad situation.In another place in Er'rets, a young woman named Avarella is pretending to be a boy named Vrell Sparrow. The current Crown Prince wants to marry her, but not out of love. Instead, he wants the power of her mother's land and money. If this were not bad enough, the Crown Prince is a cruel and heartless young man, who mistreats and abuses all those around him. Vrell and Achan are about to meet as a story begins that will change both their lives, and the lives of everyone else in their land, forever.This was a terrific, incredible read. As I said, the content is quite mature and contains much “realism” that everyone is so obsessed with these days, but not with anything gratuitous. For this, Williamson deserves high praise. She can pull the reader in without having to use childish gimmicks or devices. To put it in perspective by comparison to secular writers, she is probably closer to writers like Brandon Sanderson than Terry Goodkind. In fact, that was my error in my earlier-mentioned debate, in that I seemed to have forgotten that Sanderson never uses these “darker and edgier” devices, and he is a brilliant author; while Terry Goodkind, who has gratuitous scenes sometimes, is.... not.Not to give too much away, but Vrell is basically terrorized, and Achan undergoes much suffering, but neither are shown in graphic detail, and the reader does not find himself needlessly “shocked” by the author, as happens too often in literature, or rather, what passes for literature these days.It is largely this series that has reminded me that, yes, an author really, truly can be realistic without tons of sex, swearing, and what not. They can reference, but need not be referenced in graphic detail. The trick is to do this without it seeming like a “cop-out” or somehow being “prudish”. Williamson exhibits the writing chops to pull this off. “Real” doesn't have to mean darker and edgier when you have a talented author such as Jill Williamson.
the_hibernator reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Achan has grown up in a medieval-esque village as a lowly stray and his future seems bleak when a head-strong knight illegally begins to train Achan as his squire. The lord of the village is angered, and Achan is punished by having to guard the nasty, abusive prince on a trip to the capital city. While traveling, Achan runs into many difficulties—including Vrell, a rather effeminate “boy” who is actually the prince’s chosen bride-to-be in hiding. Vrell and Achan must learn to trust one another, while at the same time taming their sharpening their blood-voices. This book is Christian young adult fiction, so it has a reasonably subtle religious theme. It is the first book in a trilogy, and it had a cliff-hanger ending, but luckily for me the whole series has been published. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story—even though the characters aren’t perfect and sometimes I wanted to pound them over their heads for their obtuseness, they ARE teenagers after all and are really quite endearing. The book started out slow, but I was really into it after the first 50 or so pages. It was getting really interesting at the end, right when it ended. Ah! Cliffhangers!
bill5bradford reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Williamson takes two commonly used storylines that seem somewhat incompatible - the poor child who does not not know that he/she is of noble birth, and the child of noble birth hiding as a beggar - and spins a fascinating story. The book shifts between the points of view of two main characters - one male, one female. She does a good job of creating a world which is split into a dark and light half. Definitely recommended.
billtillman reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Great read, very age appropriate. Great pace, lots of suspense with great villains as well as heroes. I count it as one of the best contemporary Christian fantasy books available today. Too bad there is not a better supply on Amazon. Achan & Vrell are excellent lead characters, I appreciate the way you introduce spiritual aspects to young readers.
theepicrat reviewed this
Rated 3/5
The world that Jill Williamson has created has great potential to becoming unforgettable, but I sometimes felt overwhelmed with all the new and necessary details and names that became entangled as I read on. I too shared Achan’s confusion when he realized that the voices in his head were actually other peoples’ thoughts, though sometimes the voice sounded more God-like than human. As the story progressed, the momentum started to build and I became engrossed with how everything came together with Achan and Vrell’s meeting and ended with a Big & Unexpected Reveal about Achan’s true identity.In short, By Darkness Hid set up the stage, but I hope that its sequel To Darkness Fled fully dives into the world that Achan and Vrell live in and fleshes out all the politics and the characters to their fullest potential.My major disappointment is the way By Darkness Hid ended: A giant cliffhanger that literally has you stop in your tracks just when everything was starting to get even more interesting. Thank goodness the sequel was just released this month, or else I’d be even more upset!
jenniferbogart reviewed this
Rated 5/5
By Darkness Hid is a classic fantasy in the best of all possible ways. Achan is a stray – a foundling with no status in his society – who is taken in by a great knight as his first squire. Still, great amounts of mystery surround this boy’s origins, and intrigue seems to dog his every movement. In the meantime, Vrell (really Avrella) is in hiding as a boy to avoid a hideous fate as the wife of the nefarious prince-in-waiting - Gidon. Their lives intersect through the gift of “bloodvoicing” a sort of mind-to-mind communication that is a gift from the father-God of Er’Rets.Williamson has developed both incredibly likeable characters to populate her fascinating and mysterious world, one which is populated by a huge pantheon of Gods, in which only one is authentic, the father-God Arman (whose followers are few in number). A mysterious veil splits the land of Er’Rets into two halves – one with a normal diurnal cycle, the other perpetually in darkness.I received this 490 page novel and I’ve already finished it two days later– devoured it might be a more appropriate term. Williamson is a wonderful author, her descriptions of teaching swordplay are thorough and realistic – the best I’ve read (and I love books about knights in training)! There is political intrigue, romance (only the best kind though – no premarital physical intimacy), and parable like correlations between the history of Er’Rets and the Christian faith.What’s even better (and even more maddening) is the fact that this is only the first of a series, one that promises to be incredibly enjoyable and memorable. Williamson just released the second book in the series To Darkness Fled, and I can’t wait to read it! Do yourself a favour, and check out By Darkness Hid if classic fantasies with a Christian bent are your style – you won’t regret it!Reviewed at quiverfullfamily.com
vernonaemonteith reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Jill Williamson has created a world of amazing details, unpredictable twists and turns, and characgters that jump off the page and threaten to drink all your coffee. A must-read for fantasy lovers... and other.
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