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

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,245 ratings  ·  151 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...more
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...more
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
D.M. Dutcher (Sword Cross Rocket)
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...more
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.
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.
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...more
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
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...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...more
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.
Never read Jill Williamson, but she is now on my list of authors to follow. This is a wonderful fantasy novel, full of vivid characters and a well-drawn geography. A thick tome at nearly 500 pages, the story never lagged; I was engaged from first page to last.

Written from the alternating perspectives of Achan, a stray (the term for orphans in this world) who is abused by the lord he serves and pretty much everyone else around him, and Vrell, a young noblewoman hiding her identity by masquerading...more
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
K.M. Weiland
Williamson does some great things with this book. She presents solid and likable characters who consistently grow over the course of the story. It was an especially pleasure to watch Achan, the main character, evolve from a bedraggled stray to a confident warrior - and even more of a pleasure to have had the change happen in such a realistic and logical way - and even *more* of a pleasure to have him remain seriously flawed at the end of his arc.

The world is pleasing, the "magic" enjoyable in it...more
Scott Wozniak
Achan is a stray, an orphan slave. He is beaten at least once a week and has to drink a foul tonic every morning. Little does he know it's purpose is to keep his mental powers dormant. Vrell is the daughter of a duchess in hiding, disguised as a boy. She is trying to keep her power a secret. The two get caught up into a conspiracy with the kingdom at stake.

The characters are the best part of this story. They're believable and endearing in their struggles and motivations. The magic comes late in...more
This is the first novel I've read by Ms. Williamson. Because character development is shallow, more due to them being intentionally young and shallow constructs I suspect rather than a lack of the author's ability, I have less investment in the protagonist's success than I would like. Still, the ecological construction and geography is creative and intriguing. I like the writing and story enough to proceed to the next volume - By Darkness Fled. By the way,it'd be nice to see a world where everyo...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julia Nashif

Oh my gosh, just...whoa. Let's start with a story, shall we?

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Julia. A few years before this story takes place Julia read a fantasy novel.

She hated it.

After that, she read no "modern" fantasy. She read Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Grimm, but nothing written in the 2000s. Until now.

Julia has just discovered that she has been missing out.

I love this book to PIECES. The characters were awesome--Achan...more
Rachel Thomson
Pressure filled his head again.

This time the insight that followed was not dread but kinship and hope. Achan paused at the entrance to the kitchens and turned, seeking out the source of the sensation. His gaze was drawn to the armory.

A knight stood leaning against the crude structure of the armory, watching Achan with a pensive stare.

Achan Cham. His first name means “trouble”; his animal surname, referring to a mythic wild bear, marks him as a Stray — a boy without family or protection, branded...more
By Darkness Hid pulled me into the story from the very beginning. While some might think it a formidable read (nearly 500 pages long), I didn’t even notice as I flew through the pages and completed it in a day. (Granted, I did lose a bit of sleep – but I did NOT want to put it down!) I don’t really care for the fantasy genre, but this book was amazing. I can understand why it won the Christy award.

The plot was intricate and complex and it doesn’t clean them all up nice and neat by the last page....more
Resistance is Futile
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,...more
R. L. Copple
I love it when I read a book that has great characters, an unpredictable plot, and clear writing that doesn’t get in the way of the story. And by all accounts, that’s what you can expect to find in By Darkenss Hid, by Jill Williamson.

Jill creates an interesting and well developed cast, both with the two protagonist and the supporting characters. They read and feel like individuals with their own history and motives, and the chemistry between many of them simply works. The reader won’t find thems...more
Kristen Stieffel
This is a fabulous fantasy adventure. Jill Williamson has crafted a deeply interesting storyworld with a rich culture. The kingdom of Er'Rets is fraught with internal conflicts, as nobles jockey for positions of power. Achan, a mistreated slave, is drawn into the country's power struggles when he's enlisted as a squire. Meanwhile, Vrell, the daughter of a duchess, masquerades as a slave to evade an unwelcome royal suitor.

The characters in this story are engaging and well-drawn. Williamson unders...more
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...more
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...more
The Artist Librarian (Jen)
The best "new to me" author I've found this year! I've loved reading Christian fantasy all my life, but really began seeking it out in high school. I had heard about Jill Williamson's books for a couple of years now but never read them until now. What took me so long? I'm ashamed to say the fact that it was published by a smaller company (Marcher Lord Press) that made me shy away from purchasing it myself. Needless to say, my fears of lack of quality from a smaller press was unfounded, as this i...more
I wrote this comment, 6% into the book:

So rarely do you find a well written gem in the melting pot of free ebooks out there. This calls for a V - FOR VICTORY. ahem. No, thus far this is great. Yes, I can tell 6% in. That's about 30 pages, but good writing is good reading, and it doesn't take a trained eye to pick it out. Well... maybe a well-read eye, but.

heh. An now that I'm finished I can confidently say By Darkness Hid was a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy story. I still can't believe I got it...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...
To Darkness Fled (Blood of Kings, #2) From Darkness Won (Blood of Kings, #3) Replication: The Jason Experiment Captives (The Safe Lands, #1) Outcasts (The Safe Lands, #2)

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