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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

By Darkness Hid Jill Williamson

Achan of Cham is a stray just fighting to live life, and hoping one day to be able to marry the girl he loves…..when suddenly, his life is turned upside down. An ex-King’s Guard warrior takes a shine to him, and takes him as his squire. Life is looking up, he has hope of one day being something more than a stray, hope to someday marry Gren and hope to have a real life besides servitude. But both hopes are snatched away in a fell swoop as his day at the tournament is cruelly ended forcing him to serve those that earlier, he had been on even ground with them. But not just that, Gren’s hand is sought carelessly by Prince Esek forcing Achan to make sure Gren is safely married quickly—to someone else. Even Sir Gavin, the King’s Guard warrior, seems to have deserted him, but is that really the case? And the voices, what of the voices? His momentary lapse in morning tonic seemed to allow the cacophony of voices to pummel his head, who are they, and what do they want?

Vrell Sparrow is a young skittish boy grateful to be able to work in the apothecary— but that’s just what ‘he’ is on the outside. But inside the worn and boyish trappings she’s a seventeen year old girl in hiding from a man who would marry her in force to seize her, and her mother’s lands. But when her mistress is  traveling and two imposing armed men come for him—for her, she has no way of getting out of leaving her hiding place without giving away who and what she is.  Bearing the silence Vrell is thrust into a mind spinning selection of events and thrown into the battle for the thrown whether she knows it or not. Her bloodvoicing ability is known and sought after, there are uses for such tools. Her new master wishes for her to come into contact with a bloodvoicer they hear, but only sporadically.  One so loud, so powerful that it hurts her mind. But—what will she find when she gets there, who will she find?

This story by Jill Williamson is definitely epic fantasy. The story is woven wonderfully the flow of the book carries you along almost against your wishes toward the end. The characters were varied, definite, and touching. The story of a stray’s unwelcome rise, and of a girls’ hiding from those who would take advantage of her place was truly…..a story to behold. Thanks Mrs. Williamson!

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