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By Darkness Hid

By Darkness Hid

4.7 45
by Jill Williamson

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Darkness divides the land.

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 had been a


Darkness divides the land.

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 had been a slave all his life. Worse than a slave—a stray. 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.

Toward a destination that is by darkness hid.

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
From the Publisher

"In this medieval fantasy debut, idealistic servant Achan Cham dreams of becoming a Kingsguard Knight, while Vrell Sparrow disguises herself as a boy to escape an arranged marriage. She has a supernatural gift of being able to communicate to Achan without words. 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."
School Library Journal

"Wonderfully written with a superb plot, this book is a sure-fire hit with almost any reader. A fantasy adventure tale with a touch of romance and enough intrigue to keep the pages turning practically by themselves."
Voice of Youth Advocates

"Jill Williamson is a major arrival. She presents characters full of mystery, and leaves room for plenty of further exploration. By Darkness Hid is a fast-paced addition to the world of swords and sorcery, using a backdrop of political and spiritual intrigue to heighten the tension. When readers begin lining up for the sequel, you'll find me at the front of the line."
—Eric Wilson, author of Field of Blood and Haunt of Jackals

Product Details

Gilead Publishing
Publication date:
Blood of Kings Series , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
920 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are Saying About This

Eric Wilson
"Jill Williamson is a major arrival. She presents characters full of mystery, and leaves room for plenty of further exploration. By Darkness Hid is a fast-paced addition to the world of swords and sorcery, using a backdrop of political and spiritual intrigue to heighten the tension. When readers begin lining up for the sequel, you'll find me at the front of the line."--(Eric Wilson, author of Field of Blood and Haunt of Jackals)
Michelle Griep
"Wow . . . what a great start! Author Jill Williamson pulls the reader into this saga so completely that waiting for the rest of the series to be published will be agony indeed. Witty. Snappy. Humorous. By Darkness Hid is definitely a jewel in the crown of Marcher Lord Press. Be sure to pick up this title for a great read."--(Michelle Griep, author of Gallimore)
Donita K. Paul
"I love a good fantasy, and By Darkness Hid more than fits 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."--(Donita K. Paul, author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles: DragonSpell, DragonQuest, DragonKnight, DragonFire, and DragonLight)

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.
Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including the Blood of Kings trilogy, Replication, the Mission League series, and the Safe Lands trilogy. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children and a whole lot of deer. 

**Visit her blog at www.jillwilliamson.com.

**Follow Jill on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jwilliamsonwrites. She loves to chat with readers.

**Follow her on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/JillWilliamson

What others are saying about Jill's books:

“Expert worldbuilding and fascinating characters collide." ~Shannon Dittemore, author of the Angel Eyes trilogy

“Any time I pick up a book by Jill Williamson, I know to expect an adventure that’s both creative and captivating." ~Gillian Adams, Amazon review

“Wonderfully written with a superb plot ... a sure-fire hit with almost any reader.” ~Voice of Youth Advocates

Customer Reviews

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By Darkness Hid 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
AndreaFiona More than 1 year ago
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!
Cathi More than 1 year ago
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!
kjhgriffin More than 1 year ago
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!
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
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.
ChelseyV More than 1 year ago
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!
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
LynnRush More than 1 year ago
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.
BibliophileCLB More than 1 year ago
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.
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
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!
midnightwriter71 More than 1 year ago
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/
Karin_Beery More than 1 year ago
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.
Christian_Miles More than 1 year ago
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.
VernonaEMonteith More than 1 year ago
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.
M_C_Pearson More than 1 year ago
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.
BeckyLou More than 1 year ago
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.
MelChesley More than 1 year ago
Just a quick note, this review is from my blog: You all know by now how rare it is for me to praise a fantasy book up and down, sideways, backwards, etc. Well, this book gets all that praise that I reserve for fantasy. I'm old school fantasy, I love finding good, clean reads when it comes to fantasy. Jill Williamson's book is AMAZING! Yes, that is the word I'm using to describe this book. It's dark, it's funny, it's well planned out and the characters are so well developed, even the secondary characters. You learn things gradually, not in one lump of information overload. Achan is the kitchen boy new to 'bloodvoicing'. He's not thrilled at all with the 'gift', nor is he particularly happy with his 'Prince'. He's a 'stray', marked for service and a lifetime of humiliation. Gren is the love of his life, but they can't be together. Achan gets a taste of what a life could be like if he weren't a stray and I get the impression he likes his invisibility. But of course, there is a lot going on under the current and Achan's life changes drastically. Vrell is yet another awesome character. I. Love. Her! She doesn't seem like it right now, but she's going to be a strong woman. She's stronger than she thinks at the moment. I'm looking forward to the rest of this series VERY much! And Jill Williamson currently has another series related to this one in the works. I believe the first book is out and the second is being worked on as we speak. Now before anyone gets all up in arms about this being a cliche fantasy story, let me just say that YES, some parts were predictable. YES it's one of 'THOSE' stories and I'm trying not to do spoilers here. If you've read it, you know what I mean. But there are lots of twists and turns and quite a few surprises, despite all that. The only other thing I want to warn readers about is the e-book formatting got a little wonky in places, but once you know that, the flow of the story is smooth and quick. But if that is the only bad thing I can find about this book, well, then you know we have an awesome book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful and exciting! Would highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jill Williamson is a fabulous talent. Loved every moment, could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this when it first arrived to my high school library 4 or so years ago and i fell in love with the series and the author just like a did with Tamora Pierce and her amazing series' of Song of the Lioness, the Immortals, etc...Truly amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this fantasy series. It is action-packed and fun.
BethLizz More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ending was a strain to believe.
The_hibernators More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago