Wilona, the lone survivor of a plague that has wiped out her people, makes her way across the moors to a new life in the village of Ad Gefrin, where she is apprenticed to Touilt, a revered healer and seeress. She blossoms under Touilt’s tutelage and will one day take her place, but as an outsider, she is viewed with suspicion by all except Margawn, a warrior in the lord’s hall. When the king proclaims a conversion to the new Christian religion, Ad Gefrin becomes a dangerous place for Wilona and Touilt. Their very lives are at risk as the villagers embrace the new faith and turn against the old ways, even as Wilona’s relationship with Margawn grows. Wilona’s fate becomes intertwined with that of Egan, a monk sent to Ad Gefrin as part of the Christian mission; both will see their faith and their loyalties tested.
Torn between her deepest beliefs and a desire to belong in a confusing, changing world, Wilona must battle for survival, dignity and love against overwhelming odds. Seamlessly combining timeless choices and struggles and rich, nuanced historical detail that brings pagan Britain to life, Against a Darkening Sky is an exquisitely rendered work of fiction from one of Canada’s most acclaimed and celebrated novelists.
Praise for Against a Darkening Sky
“Set against an otherworldly, intimate backdrop, Davis’s tale vividly brings to life a near-mythic period of British history while speaking to universal human experience.”—Publishers Weekly
“Richly layered.... Not just a compelling story, but a treatise on the idea of fighting back when one’s beliefs are challenged. The way one’s ideals survive in an ever-changing world, as imperative now as it was thousands of years ago, is at the crux of this expertly rendered parable.”—The Globe and Mail
“Brilliantly achieves the ideal for a historical novel: period and milieu seem utterly inextricable from character and theme, and together they illuminate timeless and universal truths of the human condition. Seventh-century England is fascinating. Wilona is achingly real. Her quest for an identity and a place in the world are richly resonant. Davis is a remarkable writer.”—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.
LAUREN B. DAVIS is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed novels The Stubborn Season, The Radiant City, Our Daily Bread—which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named a best book of the year by both The Globe and Mail and The Boston Globe—and The Empty Room, as well as two collections of short stories, Rat Medicine & Other Unlikely Curatives and An Unrehearsed Desire. Born in Montreal, she now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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