By Darkness Hid

( 39 )

Overview

Given the chance to train as a squire, kitchen servant Achan Cham hopes to pull himself out of his pitiful life and become a Kingsguard Knight. When Achan's owner learns of his training, he forces Achan to spar with the Crown Prince--more of a death sentence than an honor. Meanwhile, strange voices in Achan's head cause him to fear he's going mad. While escorting the prince to a council presentation, their convoy is attacked. Achan is wounded and arrested, but escapes from prison--only to discover a secret about ...
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By Darkness Hid

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Overview

Given the chance to train as a squire, kitchen servant Achan Cham hopes to pull himself out of his pitiful life and become a Kingsguard Knight. When Achan's owner learns of his training, he forces Achan to spar with the Crown Prince--more of a death sentence than an honor. Meanwhile, strange voices in Achan's head cause him to fear he's going mad. While escorting the prince to a council presentation, their convoy is attacked. Achan is wounded and arrested, but escapes from prison--only to discover a secret about himself he never believed possible.
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Editorial Reviews

Christian Fiction Review
By Darkness Hid is the kind of fantasy that should be on Christian bookstore shelves everywhere. Fascinating and complete. If you like fantasy novels at all, you owe it to yourself to get hold of this one. I can't wait to explore it further. Highly Recommended.
VOYA - Angie Hammond
With no family, Achan Cham is marked as a stray and lives the brutal life of a slave. When he is lucky enough to be chosen to begin training as a Kingsguard Knight, his life changes completely, but he is left to wonder if it is for the better. The tonic given to him daily as a slave is discontinued, and the voices in his head are about to drive him insane. Is he really a descendant of royalty destined to rule? Vrell Sparrow is hiding out, pretending to be a stray boy to avoid a marriage she does not want. When she realizes the power of Achan's bloodvoicing, she has no problem accepting that he is in the direct lineage to the crown. Wonderfully written with a superb plot, this book is a sure-fire hit with almost any reader. It is an adventure tale with a touch of romance and enough intrigue to keep the pages turning practically by themselves. A subtle Christian undertone is found in the plot line, with the hero's advocating strongly for a one-God belief system, but the novel is a solid choice for any collection. Be sure to leave room on the shelf for the sequel. Reviewer: Angie Hammond
VOYA - Bethany Jones
By Darkness Hid ended up being an enjoyable book. The proud will be humbled and the humble exalted seems to be the main theme of this book; I could see it becoming the series' underlying theme. My only concern would be the number of characters the reader would come up against in the first few chapters. This book had Christian undertones, but they were subtle enough that a non-Christian would be able to enjoy the book. Reviewer: Bethany Jones, Teen Reviewer
. - Donita K. Paul
"I love a good fantasy, and By Darkness Hid more than fills the bill. With an unpredictable plot, twists of supernatural ability, and finely crafted tension between the forces of good and evil, Jill Williamson's book had me captivated. I jumped into the skin of the heroine and enjoyed her journey as if it were my own."
. - Library Journal
"This thoroughly entertaining and smart tale will appeal to fans of Donita K. Paul and J.R.R. Tolkien. Highly recommended for CF and fantasy collections."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982104958
  • Publisher: Third Day Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Blood of Kings Series
  • Pages: 506
  • Sales rank: 679,220
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer and believer. She writes stories that combine danger, suspense, and adventure for people of all ages. Jill started Novel Teen Book Reviews (www.novelteen.com) to help teens find great books to read. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. By Darkness Hid is her first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2009

    By Darkness Hid...truely amazing

    I read this book and enjoyed it emmensly! Jill is a fantastic writer. When i finished reading this book, my first thoughts were "No! That can't be it! You'd better make a sequel. I was so into it. I loved it all! I didn't think you could just end it right there. Please write more! This was a great read."
    I recommend this book to any young readers...it is amazing. Full of mystery and suspense, it is a great book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    No Hiding--The Brilliance of This Book Shines Through the Mist

    Kudos to Marcher Lord Press for including this treasure with their latest batch of speculative fiction.

    The story is set in a kind of feudal culture where orphans are even lower than slaves. Achan is one of those unfortunate lads, trying as best he can to survive the whippings, bullies, short rations, and knowledge that he has no real future. Yet there is something special about this teenager; he can sense thoughts and feelings that most of the others around him cannot. One day a knight takes notice of him and starts training him as a squire--more than Achan could have ever dreamed possible. Will this make it possible for him to marry the girl he adores? Can he really become a knight in spite of the rules against such a thing a stray?

    In alternate chapters, the tale centers on a young noblewoman, a mere teen herself, who is disguised as a boy, a stray yet, in order to hide from the Prince. The Prince is determined to marry her even against her will and that of her mother. She is safely hidden away with the family of her mother's dear friend, or so she thinks. Like Achan, though, Vrell has a great gift of bloodvoice, mental telepathy. Since she knows what it is, though, and has been trained by her mother, she is able to control the voices that come in and to close her own thoughts off from prying minds. Her safety is shattered when a wizard sends to men to bring her to him, a wizard who is aware of her gift, but not her true identity. Thus begins a new, dangerous trek for the young girl struggling to keep her true identity hidden.

    The title has a double meaning. First of all, part of this world is in light, but part of it is in unending darkness. The Darkness isn't like nighttime, which does exist in the light side, but is a place with heavy fog and confusion. Those who live there seem to be driven mad by the Darkness, sometimes coming into the Light side and doing great evil. The ones in the Light are warned to never enter the Darkness. The spiritual meaning is obvious. Yet all darkness in hearts is not limited to the dark side. In the light, there are those who believe in one true God and those who worship a pantheon of fickle gods and goddesses. Achan has been brought up thinking he must appease these gods with sacrifices and convinced that they are angry with him. He has much to learn spiritually as well as every other way.

    My estimate is that those from junior high up will enjoy this novel. It is full of action and insight as well, thoughtfully crafted. Jill Williamson includes so much detail of Achan learning to fight as a knight that I think she must have some personal experience with fencing or anachronistic societies. In those sections, it's hard to believe a woman was writing the story. In the sections with Vrell, however, she certainly lets you know the femininity of the young lady, in her thoughts at least, while she tries to at like a boy. I recommend this novel. It would be a great addition for summer reading!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2009

    I can't wait for book 2!!!

    I was pulled into By Darkness Hid immediately. Williamson kept my interest right up to the last page when I realized "Oh, my gosh, this is a series, isn't it? How am I going to wait for the sequel?"
    This maybe be a debut novel, but I think I may add a new name to my list of of favorite authors.
    Her characters are believable and interesting. Her villians are vile without being one dimensional. You do feel a little sorry for them and their problems. You care about her heroes without feeling they are too perfect. Williamson does a great job of foreshadowing without making the plot too predictable.
    I believe the book was originally written as a YA, but it works well as an adult book too.
    One of the best books I've read in quite a while!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    This story will make a fantasy lover out of anybody!

    By Darkness Hid is a compelling debut fantasy novel which beautifully illustrates the battle between good and evil as well as the challenges faced by the faithful. The world Williamson creates is well crafted and so believable that at times it made me cringe. While reading this novel I was living in the land of Er'Rets and experiencing the peril she puts her characters through. For someone who is not normally a fantasy reader, this story not only kept me riveted to the pages, but anxious about the outcome as well. Oftentimes fantasy novels are hard for me to follow, but that was not the case with By Darkness Hid. Ms. Williamson really knows how to keep a reader's attention by putting her characters into impossible situations. Just when things look like they can't get any worse, they worsen further. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment in this series. The only fantasy author besides Williamson who can hold my attention and keep it for the duration of the story is Stephen Lawhead.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    Great Book!!

    this book omg! i couldn't put it down! i tried to read it when ever i could! between classes was the hardest though. i went to bed late and rose early just to read this book! it was awsome! and thanks again Jill for the ebook!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a super coming of age fantasy thriller

    Since he has no family to protect him, Achan Cham is an orphaned stray with fewer rights than that of a slave. He survives at Sitna Manor because he can feel what others think so he knows when abuse is coming and can elude it in spite having to drink the slave tonic. With no hope for a future except kitchen duty serving Lord Bathak and Prince Gideon, Achan is stunned when Sir Gavin a knight observes his uncanny skill of handling two bullies and selects him as a squire. He begins life as a squire being trained with hopes to become a Kingsguard Knight, something almost impossible for a stray to achieve. However, since he no longer takes the tonic, he begins to hearing voices that are driving him crazy.--------

    To avoid a marriage to the prince she loathes, Vrell Sparrow hides out as a male stray. When she realizes what is happening to Achan with the bloodvoicing, as she has the same skill Vrell concludes he is the heir to the throne. However, before they can pursue what she learns, a wizard is aware of her bloodvoicing ability and sends henchmen to abduct her. Only Achan can save her if he believes in her mentally calling him for help.---

    Rotating perspectives between Achan and Vrell, BY DARKNESS HIS is a super coming of age fantasy thriller with an underlying inspirational message of the one voice of God is the light in any darkness. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down as the lead couple struggles to survive in a world filled with enemies whom mostly they do not know. Jill Williamson provides a strong sword and sorcery thriller starring two fully developed heroes and the mentor guiding them as villains search for them.---------------

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2009

    Great Read!

    I'm impressed with Jill Williamson's writing. I'm not a HUGE fan of fantasy novels. Give me a good paranormal romance and I'm happy. But Jill's ability to draw me into the characters compelled me to read on, and on, and on. I read it in one sitting. Okay, I took breaks, but in one day I'd read the entire story.

    Achan was a fantastic character. I love those who are unlikely heroes. It makes them all that more appealing to me. She painted this character so vividly, I was immediately drawn into his world.

    And there was a hint of romance too, which sufficed my need to read romances, but it wasn't the central theme of the story. Just enough to keep me enticed. ?

    Great read. I'd recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2009

    Fantasy Readers Will Love!!

    Bravo! I am floating on a cloud. By Darkness Hid is a book any fantasy reader will love. Filled with action, deceit, and bravery, you will not want to put it down. I'm giving 5 stars, and putting it on my favorites list, though, I wish there was a higher recommendation to bestow upon it. I am anxiously awaiting book 2.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    By Darkness Hid is phenomenal!

    I have heard a lot about this new publisher of Speculative/Fantasy Christian books called Marcher Lord Press and I've been very interested in the books they have published so far but haven't gotten one to read until now. Hold onto your hats fans of Christian Spec/Fantasy - Marcher Lord Press may be the best thing that has ever happened to us (the fans) and it all starts with "By Darkness Hid" by Jill Williamson!
    Kings, politics, orphans (called strays), knights, squires, bloodvoicing (mind reading), darkness and light. This book is packed full of everything you could possibly ask for. We follow two different characters - Achan is worse than a slave, he is a stray and is beaten almost daily when Sir Gavin of the old Kingsguard comes along and decides that Achan needs to train as his squire. He undergoes the training along with all his kitchen slave duties and things just seem to get worse as the prince hates him and makes no attempt to cover that up. He ends up traveling with the prince who seems set on getting him killed. In the meantime we are also seeing life through Vrell's eyes as he is parading as a stray but is not all he is cracked up to be. Vrell gets hijacked to Mahanaim where the prince is supposed to be named king. Vrell runs into Achan and things only start getting more and more interesting. Some twists I figured out and some I didn't - all the way around I was totally intrigued from page one to the end and I can only hope that book #2 comes out soon (very soon!). I love this book and highly recommend that you check it out and all the books available with Marcher Lord Press!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing Book!!!!

    I have got to tell you about By Darkness Hid, the first book in the series, Blood of Kings written by Jill Williamson and published by Marcher Lord Press. When Jill asked for influencers for her Christian medieval young adult book, I jumped all over it. I used the fact that I have three teens to earn myself a copy and the right to review. I was thrilled when the book showed up and couldn't wait to start reading.

    Immediately I was drawn into the story as I was introduced first to Achan and then to Vrell. Not once did I find myself bored and simply reading from page to page hoping for something to happen. The best part is that the story is not predictable! I looked forward to reading this book each night because I knew that I would end up being surprised by the predicaments that the characters found themselves in.

    Achan is a stray and strays have no rights what-so-ever. Strays are destined to wear an orange tunic and are rarely permitted to marry. They are treated worse than slaves. Achan's life takes a drastic turn when he gains the interest of Sir Gavin and finds himself on an adventure he could have never imagined.

    Vrell Sparrow now lives her life disguised as a stray, hiding her identity from one who has the power to make her life a living nightmare. She too finds herself in places that if her identity was known, she would never be. Achan's and Vrell's lives will cross when they discover that each of them shares the gift of Bloodvoicing.

    I enjoyed this page-turner and didn't want the story to end. I simply cannot wait until book two is released so that I can climb back into this story and continue the adventures with Achan and Vrell.

    If you're looking for a great gift to give to your teens this Christmas, this is it! Be warned that you might often find them locked away in their rooms reading. It's that good! I read until my eyes drooped and simply had to put it down until I had some sleep. Jill Williamson captures the real-life feelings of her characters. You will feel their pain as well as their laughter. I must also comment on the book itself. It's beautiful! 490 pages filled with characters that will either make you love them or hate them. I can't stress enough how much you will love By Darkness Hid. For more information, visit Jill's website at: http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    So good you won't want to put it down!

    This is a fabulous speculative fiction book for people looking for a Christian alternative. Williamson quickly pulls the reader into her world and into the lives of Achan and Vrell. Though the characters are young (teens) and the setting is unfamiliar (Er'Rets), Williamson's creativity and style so fully captivate the reader that you forget any preconceived idea's about "fantasy" or "young adult" literature. Instead, you find yourself wrapped up in the lives of Achan and Vrell, afraid for, crying with, and cheering for them along the way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    You've gotta read this book!

    By Darkness Hid was a fun ride through the unique world of Er'rets. Jill Williamson has crafted a thoroughly fantastic book that dwarfs the attempts of many other well-seasoned authors. I'd recommend this book over most of the other Christian fantasy novels I've come across nowadays. I'm thoroughly anticipating the next book in the Blood of Kings series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Hold on to your hat, you're in for a wild ride!

    Jill Willaimson has created a world of amazing details, unpredictable twists and turns, and characters that jump off the page and threaten to drink all your coffee. A must-read for fantasy lovers... and others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    My Kind of Fantasy

    The Story. Achan Cham wears the orange shirt that marks him as a stray, as does the brand he bears on his back. For as long as he can remember he's worked in Lord Nathak's kitchen under the watchful eye and heavy hand of the cook, but all that changes when Sir Gavin chooses to elevate the boy and make him his squire.

    Vrell also wears the orange, but she does so of her own choosing and in the guise of a young boy because she has gone into hiding in order to avoid a marriage neither she nor her duchess mother wishes for her.

    Through an unlikely turn of events, Achan's and Vrell's paths cross, and they become the targets of greedy, power-hungry men who wish to kidnap and exploit them.

    Strengths. By Darkness Hid is a fresh old-style fantasy. The story is captivating and unpredictable, with numerous well-foreshadowed twists. The characters are likable. Their motivations are clear and believable which makes them all the more realistic. I especially thought Jill hit a homerun creating Vrell, a girl masquerading as a boy. The things Vrell did to protect herself, the conscious ways she tried to mimic male behavior and to check her own natural actions and reactions made the character quite engaging.

    The fantasy world of Er'Rets comes to life, including the innovative concept of a land divided between light and darkness, literally.

    Williamson's writing is strong. She paints scenes using vivid prose so that a reader is transported into the barn of Lord Nathak's manor or onto the trail through Nahar Forest. She provides lots of tension and suspense, so the story's pace is fairly fast. There is a good amount of internal as well as external conflict, which makes the story more intriguing.

    Recommendation. I just may have a new favorite fantasy series. This is my kind of story. For those who are drawn to epic fantasy or classic fantasy, this is a must read. For everyone else, I highly recommend By Darkness Hid.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Top-Notch Fantasy

    Reminiscent of Shakespeare's romantic method of hiding his heroine in the guise of a man, Jill Williamson has taken her fantasy, In Darkness Hid, and filled it with twists and turns. Both hero and heroine are characters that will remain in my heart for a long time. Having swordplay, mental powers, romance, and a thrilling new take on the term "royal blood", I completely enjoyed this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Fun Fantasy

    I liked this fantasy series. It is action-packed and fun.

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  • Posted August 14, 2012

    This trilogy is amazing. I got the first book from our library a

    This trilogy is amazing. I got the first book from our library and after I finished it, I had to get the next two! Since our library didn't carry it, I went online and bought it for my Nook. It definitely kept my attention, I couldn't put them down! I kept on looking at the pages to see how far I am and just wished I could stretch it out more.
    Can't wait for more books from this author! Even though it's geared towards youth / young adults, I loved it.
    Only thing better would be if this could be made into a movie

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Could have been better

    The ending was a strain to believe.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic Christian fantasy

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    Definitely worth reading!!

    By Darkness Hid is an excellent book. I would reccommend it for a wide variety of teenage readers. There are exceptional fight scenes for the boys (and even some of us girls), and heartwarming as well as heartrending romantic interests. By Darkness Hid is exciting and well-written. The plot is complex enough to keep you on your toes, yet easy to follow. Jill Williamson (author) has an amazing imagination, and expresses herself well. I look forward to reading more of her books, especially the rest of the Blood of Kings series and Replication, which is due in December of 2011.

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