Hild’s bynames #2: Butcher-bird

The taxonomic name for the great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor, is Latin for butcher sentinel. Sentinel because of the way shrikes stand tall on top of a post, as both a warning and declaration of territory: they practically shriek vigilance and eagerness to tangle. (They remind me of new bouncers at a club: overready to get into it.) And butcher because they spike their prey—smaller birds, mice, lizards, bees, crickets—on thorns and barbed wire fencing, like feathery little Neroes playing with Christians.

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Making my own Hild art

While writing both Hild and Menewood I drew dozens of maps to help work out everything from travel routes to weather events to Hild’s thinking to battle tactics. These sketch maps are full of private code and wouldn’t make sense to most readers. But every now and again I like to post one to illustrate a point. So I started […]

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Where Hild walked

I visited the UK in February and took the opportunity to fossick about in places Hild would have known. Whitby Abbey, of course, has been familiar to me for years. Sadly, when I was there this time, it was shut (no doubt as a result of this). No way in. Even the cliff was fenced […]

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