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The Needle in the Blood

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  299 ratings  ·  68 reviews
January 1067. Charismatic bishop Odo of Bayeux commissions a wall hanging, on a scale never seen before, to celebrate the conquest of Britain by his brother, William, Duke of Normandy. What he cannot anticipate is how utterly this will change his life-even more than the invasion itself.

His life becomes entangled with the women who embroider his hanging, especially Gytha-ha
Paperback, 576 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Snowbooks
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Mar 23, 2012 Iset rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Norman Conquest lovers
For those Norman Conquest afficianados, enjoy this prelude to my review (not made by me but some other excellent, talented people!):

What on earth is it about Sarah Bower’s books that I find so enjoyable and yet so frustrating?! This is the second book of Bower’s that I’ve felt this way about, and whilst with Sins of the House of Borgia I loved the thoughtful writing style, the richly detailed setting, and the complex secondary characters, but found the pa
An interesting premise for a story: a novel about the Bayeux Tapestry [more correctly an embroidered cloth] from conception to completion. The Tapestry celebrates the victory of William the Conqueror over Harold Godwinson. It is an outstanding example of medieval artwork:

Besides the creation of the tapestry, much of the story involves a seamstress, Gytha, and her passionate affair with a Norman bishop, Odo, in the years following the Conquest. This is th
Hearken all art historians, needlewomen and readers of historical fiction: this is an

expansive, comprehensive, beautifully conceived novel that will make you want to hold it

close to your heart long after you read the last lines. The Bayeux Tapestry comes to life!

The fine art of needlework and honor due to the craft is inspiring. Passions of war,

religion, and romance leaps from these pages. The lovers entwined and inhibited by the

history of the Normans and Saxons will capture your imaginatio
Paula Lofting
When charismatic bishop Odo of Bayeux decides to comission a wall hanging to celebrate his role in the conquest of Britain, he becomes embroiled in the lives of the women who make it, especially Gytha - handmaiden to the mistress of the fallen King Harold. Against their intentions they fall passionately in love and in doing so, Odo comes into conflict with his brother the king and God and Gytha with his enemies who mistrust her powerful hold over such a powerful man. Nothing in life or in the ha ...more
I was captivated by this story and The Needle in the Blood is the first historical fiction novel I have read about the Bayeux Tapestry. It has left me wanting to know more of it's history. I enjoyed the characters in Sarah's story and felt she did a wonderful job with the character building. I also felt her secondary characters really helped support this story and I enjoyed reading about their lives. I have to admit I'm not fond of reading a story in the present tense, but I feel Sarah pulled th ...more
Liza Perrat
To celebrate William the Conqueror’s conquest of Britain, Bishop of Bayeux, Odo, commissions a wall hanging. This embroidered cloth, on permanent exhibition in Bayeux, Normandy, became known as the Bayeux Tapestry, one of the most well-known and enigmatic medieval artifacts.

Armed with Sarah Bower’s wonderfully descriptive language, The Needle in the Blood gripped me from the beginning. I felt as if I’d been hurled into the midst of the Battle of Hastings, as Odo, half-brother of William the Conq
Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
Published: 01/04/2004
Author: Sarah Bower
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction

I was hooked on this book before I read it by the front cover. It tells of the story of the conquest of Britain by William the Conqueror and the commission of the sewing of the tapestry by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, William's brother depicting the story of the battle.

This book is superbly written in exquisite detail. The story touches on the unlikely romance between Odo and Gytha handmaiden of the fallen Saxon King Har

Gytha's world is destroyed when William the Conqueror invades England and kills King Harold. Gytha has been a lady in waiting to Edith, his consort, but now she has nothing after losing her babies and her husband in battle. When she sees Bishop Odo, she vows revenge, and the perfect opportunity comes when he commissions a tapestry to tell the story of the invasion and eventual conquest of England. However she doesn't count am falling in love with him...

I chose this book because I wanted to
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Originally posted at: http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.c...

The Needle in the Blood is a medieval adventure rife with danger, romance, and rich, historical detail. Reading this book brought the world of mid-eleventh century, Britain to life. The nitty-gritty, down-to-earth particulars of this brutal era are engrossing and educational at the same time.

It was a fascinating time, the end of Anglo-Saxon England, when William the Conqueror took control of the English throne. William had a half-brot
Jessica S
I will start by saying that there were many parts of this book that I enjoyed. I felt that it started strong with familiar historical content for context, while introducing some great characters.

However, I found the pacing of this book to be a little odd. I really enjoyed the first section, but then felt that all of a sudden things rushed forward very quickly. It left me wondering if I had skipped pages by accident. Or maybe when reading before bed I didn't absorb some detail due to tiredness.
La vita non è stata clemente con Gytha. Vedova di un marito che non l’ha mai veramente amata, ripudiata dai genitori, incapace di generare un figlio sano, la ragazza trova una vera famiglia all’interno della corte di Lady Edith moglie del conte Aroldo. Ma questo periodo di felicità viene spazzato via da Guglielmo il Bastardo e dal fratello di lui, Odonne. Rimasta sola Gytha pur di sopravvivere è costretta a vendere il proprio corpo in una stanzetta sudicia, l’unica cosa che la tiene in vita è l’ ...more
I'd been looking forward to reading this for a long time, partly because I loved Sarah Bower's Borgia book, and partly because I knew nothing about the Bayeaux tapestry and was intrigued. The first part of the book was paced very slowly, nothing much seemed to be happening, and I contemplated putting it aside for a while. But then it picked up, and got more and more interesting, until the very end..WARNING SPOILER COMING...when after all these years of being so very passionately in love with Bis ...more
Melodramatic, mystical, near-pornagraphic historical fiction centering around the embroidering of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Not that it was badly written, aside from a certain fixation on pronouns that made some of the longer sentences hard to understand. I read the first two hundred and thirty pages, then the last twenty-five. I just wasn't in the mood.
A story about a story? This imagining of the creation of the Bayeaux Tapestry -- which tells the tale of the 1066 Norman conquest -- was most interesting when it told of the actual artwork. The parts imagining the making of the tapestry were OK. The remainder of this too-long book was disjointed and rambling. I would have cut about half of it.
A truly magical book about The Bayeux Tapestry, ambition, loss, obsession, hope, passion and an unimaginably grand love. I think this may be one of the best books I've ever read. My heart and mind is still caught up in its hypnotic, lyrical beauty. Sarah Bower has given us a great gift with this story.
May 17, 2013 Sorcha rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
January 1067. Charismatic bishop Odo of Bayeux commissions a wall hanging, on a scale never seen before, to celebrate the conquest of Britain by his brother, William, Duke of Normandy. What he cannot anticipate is how utterly this will change his life-even more than the invasion itself.

I have to admit I struggled a bit with this book and it took me a lot longer than a book of this length should have. There is nothing per se "wrong" with it, I just had difficulty completing it. Not a book for tho
Ellen Ekstrom
Enjoyable read - I did think the backstory about one of the embroiderers, Margaret, and her brother could have been edited out and the story wouldn't have suffered. This is a fictional account of the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry, the famous embroidered hanging allegedly commissioned by William of Normandy's half-brother, Bishop Eudes of Conteville (in this story, Odo). The central characters are Edith, a lady-in-waiting to King Harold II's commonlaw (handfast wife), Edith Swannhaels, who is p ...more
After reading Goodreads' reviews, I found I wasn't the only one who was captivated by this novel, yet frustrated by it as well. If you'll read the description of the book here, you'll get a grasp of what the novel is about, which is a better description than the one on the back of the book from Barnes and Nobles. This is an historical fiction piece, (who knew?) about the Norman Conquest, the emergence of England, and the Bayeux Tapestry. Some of the characters were also real, such as Odo of Baye ...more
I have finally finished reading the book that took me possibly more than two months to complete. It could have been earlier but let me just share a few reasons why I took so long to finish reading something that normally takes me a month to complete.

The book started off in a promising manner, with hopes of a plot that would keep me occupied for the next few nights and weekends. I could tell something was going somewhere, not sure which direction it would take, but at least I thought I knew I cou
This is a really beautifully-written book, which I ended up enjoying a lot more than I expected to. The use of the present tense took a little getting used to, especially in a historical fiction novel, but it did give the narrative an immediacy which might otherwise have been lacking. The plot itself - inspired by an unexplained panel in the Bayeux Tapestry - is well-constructed and compelling, and the author does an excellent job of bringing the period to life, bar a few minor historical inaccu ...more
There is nothing like a historical re-imagining in the hands of a talented author. In The Needle in the Blood Sarah Bower gives the reader her imagination's take on the creation of what has come to be called the Bayeux Tapestry. It's not a true tapestry as it is not woven but embroidered but it is a magnificent piece of art.

In this tale Bishop Odo, also known as the Earl of Kent is William the Conqueror's half brother (he did exist and he was William's half brother in fact). After the Battle of
I picked up this book on sale after a recommendation from one of the blogs I follow. I'm now calling it a "did not finish" because I haven't read any more of it in over a week and feel no interest in picking it up again. Because of that I am rounding up to three stars instead of rounding down to two stars, as there may be improvements near the end judging from other reviews but I'm not interested in getting there. If I remember correctly, I'm at about 60% of the book on my Kindle.

The good:
The wr
Richard Abbott
I ended up enjoying this book, and thought the closing chapters were a magnificent finish. Hence my positive review, and my overall rating.

I did feel that the narrative flagged a little in the middle - for one thing the will-they-won't-they of Odo and Gytha seemed to carry on for too long, and for another there seemed to be a part of the book just full of random journeys! For me, the character of Tom was an unconvincing side issue, but perhaps others would feel differently. Once the story refoc
Shonna Froebel
I picked up this book from the sale table at the bookstore because of the tag line "A powerful tale of sex, lies, and embroidery." I mean, how could I resist!
This is a historical romance set in the late 11th century beginning with the invasion of England by William of Normandy in 1066. Glytha is a young woman, originally from Wales, widowed and then a lay sisters in a nunnery, most recently lady in waiting to King Harold's mistress Edith Swan Neck.
When William's brother Odo takes it in his head
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ana T.
Links "roubados" da Cenoura para futura referência...

Although I overall enjoyed my reading of The Needle In The Blood when I started it I was hoping for a book on the Bayeux Tapestry and now that I've finished it it feels the tapestry was just a small part of this story. In that sense I was a bit disappointed. It's not even a story about the weavers but more the story of
Set in the time of William the Conqueror, this story is framed by the creation of the Bayeaux Tapestry. The two main characters are the Bishop of Bayeaux (Odo) who is half brother to William and a former lady in waiting to Edith, the common law wife of the Saxon King Harold, overthrown by William (Glytha). Glytha hopes to find revenge against Odo/William for what they have done to the kingdom. She is given the opportunity to work with a group of women who are stitching a representation of all of ...more
Christine (AR)
Star-crossed lovers and the Norman invasion. I spent a lot of time looking up The Bayeux Tapestry and the Battle of Hastings while reading this, and that's a good thing. Odo and Gytha were a touch too intense in their throes of passion and hatred for each other, but if you're going to portray a mysterious love story that has survived a thousand years in a staggering work of art, a little melodrama is allowed, I think. I came away from this novel with an awed respect for the women who spent years ...more
I would have given this more stars if it had not been full of historical inaccuracies. I do not even know a ton about the time period, beyond the brief overview I got of the politics of the Norman Conquest in a class once, but even I recognized a lot of errors. Add to that the fact that the author herself admitted in the AN that she knew there were errors, and some were deliberate, I lost respect for the story, which I had rather enjoyed up to that point. I know there are some things all histori ...more
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Sarah was born and brought up in Yorkshire but now lives in Suffolk with her husband and two grown-up sons, not to mention the two golden retrievers, three chickens and an elderly, obese cat. She works for Creative Arts East, an arts development agency in Norfolk, managing projects to promote reading and creative writing. She also teaches creative writing at the University of East Anglia, where sh ...more
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“Agatha surveys the garden, its rows of crinkled spring cabbages and beanstalks entwining bowers of hawthorn and hazel. The rosemary is dotted with pale blue stars of blossom and chives nod heads of tousled purple. New sage leaves sprout silver green among the brittle, frost-browned remains of last year's growth. Lily of the valley, she thinks, that will be out in the cloister garden at Saint Justina's by now.” 2 likes
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