Hild the novel

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US, Canada), 12 November 2013
Blackfriars/Little, Brown (UK, Commonwealth), 24 July 2014
Picador (US paperback), 28 October 2014


  • “A magnificent and convincing portrayal of a strange, wild, beautiful world.” — Guardian
  • Vivid, richly detailed…a powerful, clever novel. Griffith illuminates the so-called Dark Ages, reconstructing an often alien historical world with great precision.” — BBC History Magazine
  • “Beautiful, thorny jacket for this beautiful literary novel. It genuinely brings the period to life.” — The Bookseller
  • “A stunning blend of real history and soaring imagination…steeped in the language and customs of early Britain, rich in historical detail, outstanding in observation of human nature…believable and breathtaking.” — Lancashire Evening Post
  • Hild by Nicola Griffith may well be a future classic. The writing is lucent and the plot enthralling, but perhaps most impressive is how the author creates and sustains a rare feeling in the reader of really living among the characters.” — Morning Star
  •  dazzling… Griffith’s lyrical prose emphasizes the savagery of the political landscape, in which religion, sex, and superstition are wielded mercilessly for personal gain.” — Paris Review Daily
  • “It is the best fictional attempt to recreate Dark Age Britain that I have ever read.” — Alex Woolf
  • “In it’s ambition and intelligence, Hild might best be compared to Hilary Mantel’s novels about Thomas Cromwell.” — Bookforum
  • “I was impressed—as a fellow-writer and a Northumbrian archaeologist. It’s a great piece of work.” — Max Adams
  • The novel resonates to many of the same chords as Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, 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
  • What a fabulous book! I fell into this world completely and was sorry to come out. Truly, truly remarkable.” — Karen Joy Fowler
  • Vibrant, if brutal… Inventive and vivid.” — Washington Post
  • “Splendid…not only beautiful but also meaningful… I can hardly wait for the next.”  — Los Angeles Review of Books
  • “Vivid, vital, and visceral, Hild’s history reads like a thriller.” — Val McDermid
  • “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.” — Manda Scott
  • Griffith’s narrative flows like a river; Hild’s thoughts and deeds are expressed in pitch-perfect tone, in prose approaching poetry.” — Historical Novel Society
  • Hild is the most absorbing and addictive story I’ve read in years… It’s feminist, intelligent, glorious.” — Vulpes Libris
  • Hild is magnificent, an urgent, expansive pleasure…a pulse-pounding page-turner.” — Lambda Literary Review
About Hild

Hild was real. She was born fourteen hundred years ago in Early-Medieval England. Everything we know about her comes from the Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, the foundational text of English history. Of that work, a scant five pages refer to Hild. You can read those, translated by Professor Roy M. Liuzza here (Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Vol. 1, Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2006; hosted with permission of the translator).

The finished book includes a map, glossary, family tree, and an Author’s Note which includes a pronunciation guide (though not the Dramatis Personae, which is exclusive here). But if you’re reading digitally you might find it useful to download the following to refer to as you go:

Read or Listen to an excerpt


Reading Group Guide

Recent interviews about Hild

From the Publisher

Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods are struggling, their priests worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief. Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has 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.She establishes a place for herself in court as the king’s seer. And she is indispensible – unless she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family and loved ones, and for the increasing numbers of those 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 medieval age—all of it brilliantly, and accurately, evoked by Nicola Griffith’s incandescent prose. Working from what little historical record is extant, Griffith has brought a beautiful, brutal world—and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby—to vivid, absorbing life.

Even more?
For even more—more than you could ever want—see these gigantic uber-pages of reviewsinterviewsessays and other miscellany.


I’ve been startled and delighted by Hild‘s honours so far. Thank you.

  • Winner of the Washington State Book Award
  • ALA Notable Book
  • Seattle Times Best of the Best of 2013
  • Huffington Post Best Five Books of 2013
  • Guardian Not the Booker longlist
  • Book of the Week, The Week
  • Book of the Week, Publishers Weekly
  • Editor’s Choice, Historical Novel Society
  • Tiptree Honor Book
  • Nebula Award finalist
  • Lambda Literary Award finalist
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalist
  • Bisexual Book Awards finalist

3 thoughts on “Hild the novel

  1. I am reading Hild and loving it. Such good writing! Great characterisation, wonderful prose that lifts you into the story – and such a fascinating, well researched story. It is a huge treat to find another author whose work is so good that you forget yourself as you are transported into new worlds.

  2. I just finished reading HILD and I’m keen to read the sequel MENEWOOD. I’ve read quite a bit of both fiction and nonfiction about sub-Roman/pre-Norman Britain but I love how HILD shifted the usual focus to center the experiences of women.

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