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By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, #1)
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By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings #1)

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,626 ratings  ·  192 reviews
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 princ ...more
Paperback, 490 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Marcher Lord Pess
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michelle Griep
What I enjoyed most about Williamson’s style is her dialogue. Witty. Snappy. Humorous. The interaction between characters is entertaining and sometimes surprising. Williamson truly has a knack for clever conversation.
My favorite character is hero Achan Cham. Besides the fact that he’s handsome, this is one humble protagonist. He’s got his flaws all right, but he owns up to his shortcomings with a modest and sincere finesse. This is the kind of leading man every girl dreams of.
Williamson also
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Elisabeth Wheatley
This. THIS is how you write Christian Epic Fantasy. I’ll be honest, I usually hate these sorts of books. Christian fantasy (and Christian literature in general) tend to be…what is the word? Preachy. Overbearing. It pains me to say and I wish it weren’t so, yet it’s true. But none of that here.

I think I added this to my “Dear Santa” list over a year ago because it looked like my kind of trouble. Over vacation, I was browsing through my Amazon wish list and saw that it was free for Kindle. Fearing
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Gabriela
This book was fantastic!!! I am so glad I decided to read it. I can't wait to read more about Achan and Vrell! This is definitely a favorite of mine.
Shantelle
By Darkness Hid . . . a brilliant novel by Jill Williamson . . . Why didn’t I dive into this epic fantasy world sooner?? :D

When I first started By Darkness Hid, it was interesting and all, but I was pretty deep in a reading slump and nothing much was really catching my interest. But, I forged on. And I’m so, so glad I did! This story soon mesmerized me, and now I sit here wishing I had the sequel! ;)

Achan and Vrell are our main characters. I quite adore Achan and his interesting personality; tho
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Janna
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 readin
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Amber Stokes
An exciting and intriguing beginning to the "Blood of Kings" trilogy, By Darkness Hid is a fabulous fantasy novel! An imaginative world, dastardly villains, and plenty of plot twists abound in this book that has a lot to offer fantasy fans of either gender.

Achan is a boy on the verge of manhood - and on the verge of an epic adventure. It would be a dream come true for him to find a life beyond kitchen duty at the palace. But when he discovers he has a powerful gift and a destiny that unfolds one
...more
Lauren
First, I want to mention how amazing it was to have won an autographed copy of this book from the great people here at Goodreads. Thanks Ms. Williamson - you ROCK!

Second, I would like to recommend this delightful fantasy. It was a fast, fun and exciting read. The story is told in third person alternating between our two unlikely heroes, Vrell and Achan. The world that Ms. Williamson creates is vivid and detailed. Moreover, I love the fact that she describes each character fully. Vrell was by far
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Rebeka
By Darkness Hid is the first in the "Blood of Kings" trilogy by Jill Williamson. It is told in dual points of view, chronicling the adventures of Achan Cham, a lowly Stray who dreams of a better life, and Vrell Sparrow, a young noblewoman fleeing from a disastrous match with a despicable prince. Their stories intertwine in very interesting ways throughout the course of the novel.

It is very difficult to find Christian fantasy that has it all: faith, adventure, a dash of mystery and romance. The f
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D.M. Dutcher
Slow start and meh finish, but a really nice middle make for a good Christian fantasy, if unambitious.

Achan is a orphaned stray, who exists in a castle as little more than a serf. One day he does something to get a knight's eye on him, and his hidden past unravels. Meanwhile, a princess hiding from an arranged marriage by acting like a stray boy gets shanghaied into a plot of her own.

It starts off slow, with some abrupt point of view changes that aren't handled well and are confusing. One minute
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Leah Good
Young Achan Cham’s life is worse than that of a slaves. As a stray, he’s the lowest of the low, destined for a life of servitude and degradation. Despite his unpromising future, Achan’s a fighter. When a famous but enigmatic knight shows an interest in training Achan, the young man jumps for the opportunity. Maybe someday he can make something of himself after all. If the strange voices in his head don’t make him insane first.

I read this book early in 2013 and didn’t have any complaints when my
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Denae Christine
Well done. It had good subtleties and trackings of characters (i.e., I could remember who this minor character Bran was because he had a sunburned face). Several parts were slowish(describing the city?) and several were very unclear (transitional scenes), but I think those times were unclear to the characters, too, learning bloodvoicing, so maybe that was on purpose.
Predictable for the most part. Yet there were complications I didn't foresee (Khai) and layers I didn't expect to surface (insultin
...more
Carman
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.
Michelle
I don't normally like fantasy, but this story was incredibly well done and held my attention. In fact, it more than held it. It gripped me. I was entrenched in the characters' world. I could not stop reading this book because it was so edgy and exciting that I had to know more. Think Dragonspell, but even better!
Vernona E
Jill Williamson 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.
Timothy Stone
Recently on the web site Speculative Faith, there was a debate about the tone of fantasy and other “speculative” Christian fiction, and how “gritty” or “realistic” it should be. This debate can apply to secular speculative fiction, as well. It was basically the debate over whether something had to be “darker and edgier” to be real and true to life. I took up the argument that, sometimes, yes it did. I was wrong. I see that now after reading By Darkness Hid, the first book of The Blood of Kings s ...more
Jeanette
I just finished reading By Darkness Hid (Book I of Blood of Kings) by Jill Williamson. What can I say but "Bravo!" to an author who has published her first novel? Williamson has done a masterful job of bringing the characters to life and drawing the reader in to care deeply about each of them. I long to re-enter the world of Er'Rets while I wait for the sequel to be published. Is the second book finished yet, Jill?

The first character we meet is Achan Cham, a stray or an orphan with no remaining
...more
Karen Deblieck
As a Writer... Williamson has a wonderful and unique style of writing that is very beautiful. I enjoyed the original descriptions and pictures that she painted with words. She also has a wealth of knowledge about castles and medieval weaponry that comes out in her writing. Sometimes I found the story line got weighed down by the in depth descriptions-I admit to some skimming to see what happens next. Both Achan and Vrell were believably portrayed. It was a wonderful and enjoyable read - I would ...more
Doug Winenger
I've been in a 'drought' for good fantasy story for a while. After doing some looking around on Amazon and Goodreads, I came across By Darkness Hid. The plot intrigued me so I ordered the Kindle version of the book about a week ago.

The reading level is fairly easy for an adult as this book is geared a little more toward the young adult crowd. However, the story is compelling and fun. The characters are easy to relate to and the pace of the book draws you in until the very end...which comes abrup
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Claire Banschbach
This book had been on my to-read list for a while and then I conveniently convinced by younger sister that she also wanted to read it. We both really enjoyed it.

It's got adventure, a little mystery, and a daring escape or two. I did get a little confused at some parts when the author would drop a new word or phrase as if expecting us to know what it meant and then not explain for a few pages. The female character Vrell grated on my nerves, although she did improve as the book went on. Those are
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Siew Ee
Scripted well - The plot is not very complicated but well-developed and the characters are genuine and likeable, with the romance aspect kept light and interesting. An enjoyable YA fantasy series that moves with ease and packs in enough action and mystery to keep YA readers satisfied. I think my two girls will enjoy this series.
Jenneth
Achan Cham works as a stray--an outcast from society forced to do servant work for the higher casts--and is forced to take an awful potion every morning every day of his life. Vrell is a girl forced to disguise as a boy in order to keep the wicked prince from taking her as a bride. And both characters hear voices in their heads.

Jill Williamson's debute novel was a really exciting read, even though other world fantasies usually are mundane and confusing. Both her main characters were extremely l
...more
Tisha
A pure joy reading about young people that never give up!

I fell in love with Achan! Not in the man/woman sense, but in the human to human sense. There was a special quality that came through in him from the very beginning that attracted him to me. It is that old fashioned sense of chivalry---honor, bravery, and gallantry that sets a man above all others. He showed his desire to do good even when bad always seemed to come against him.
I also loved Vrell's tenacity even in the face of danger. Al
...more
Kerry Johnson
By Darkness Hid is YA inspirational fantasy at its best. I lost track of time and everything around me as I became wrapped up in Achan and Vrell's lives and struggles, and those of the many fascinating characters in the land of Er'Rets.

I enjoyed the snappy dialogue and the lively, realistic interactions between characters. The author's elegant descriptions of this fantasy world mixed with exciting sword fights and political intrigue kept me tapping away at the pages (I read it on Kindle--not my
...more
Abby Jones
This book really surprised me. Typically, when you say something is "Christian Fantasy" I expect a sever lack of creativity, poor storytelling and unconvincing and convenient conversions. To my great joy, this book was creative, had a great story, a little grit and great fantasy. I will admit to a few times struggling to keep up with the characters but it didn't stop me from reading. I will also admit to finding the girl Sparrow a bit unconvincing at the end. I felt like my chain was being a bit ...more
Amy
Achan Cham dreams of one day becoming a knight, but he is a stray, worse than a slave, and such aspirations are out of his reach. But when a passing knight expresses interest in him and wishes to train him Achan eagerly accepts. But as his training with Sir Gavin yields more than just new skills at the sword Achan discovers a power within himself he has never know. He can hear voices that don’t belong to him.
I actually read this book a couple years ago but I have wanted to re-read it ever since
...more
Anne Caroline Oakwood
Pihenésképp akartam valami könnyed dolgot olvasni, így pont kapóra jött, hogy az Amazonon akciósan (ingyenesen) lehetett hozzájutni a könyvhöz. A leírás alapján jó kis "kardélre hányunk, elvarázsolunk mindenkit, és közben megmentjük a királylányt a szörnyektől" történetet vártam. Varázslatot meg szörnyeket nem találtam a könyvben, mégsem vagyok csalódott. Az egyetlen mágikusnak tekinthető dolog a vérszólás (bloodvoicing), ami egyfajta telepátia, beszélhetünk másokkal, vagy láthatjuk, hallhatjuk, ...more
Courtney Lake
I really liked this book. I put it right up there with some of the side plots in Game of Thrones. You've got a struggle for the throne with two opposing kings. A loveable raggamuffin who is sassy and obscenely lucky (Seriously, Achan reminded me of a taller, more muscular Arya). Top if off with ESP powers, a weird pervasive darkness and a love story you can't HELP but root for, and its gold.

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading here



I'm usually a very good plot guesser, but the idea of Achan as the crown
...more
Jessica Dowell
A boy, unaware of his powerful gift, jumps at the chance to become a knight, hoping to win the hand of his childhood friend and escape his life of slavery. A girl goes into hiding, disguising herself as a boy to escape marriage to a loathful prince. Both of them, drawn together by circumstances neither of them chose, have an important role to play in the redemption of a kingdom that is being taken over by darkness!

Achan Cham wants nothing more than to marry his childhood sweetheart and live in h
...more
C.B. Cook
Such a wonderful story! I can't wait to read the next book.
Charlotte Snead
Probably the best allegory I've read since Lord of the rings, Jill's series is easier to read. I learned more than I wanted to know about sword fighting, but the battles were real, the struggle against darkness universal, and the love story compelling. The 3 book series traces stray/slave boy, Achan's journey from a rejected outcast to a crowned king, including his battles without and within as he his matures through trials and learns to seek and hear God's voice. He discovers his best friend, w ...more
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Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including By Darkness Hid, Replication, The New Recruit, and Captives. She got into writing one day when someone was complaining about teen books and she thought, “I could do that! How hard could it be?” Very, she soon learned. But she worked hard, and four years later, ...more
More about Jill Williamson...

Other Books in the Series

Blood of Kings (3 books)
  • To Darkness Fled (Blood of Kings, #2)
  • From Darkness Won (Blood of Kings, #3)
To Darkness Fled (Blood of Kings, #2) From Darkness Won (Blood of Kings, #3) Captives (Safe Lands, #1) Replication: The Jason Experiment Outcasts (Safe Lands, #2)

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