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Something Red

(Something Red #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,048 ratings  ·  292 reviews
From debut author Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery.

During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming Irish healer, Molly, and the troupe she leads are driving their three wagons, hoping to cross the Pennine Mountains before the heavy snows set in.

Molly, her lov
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books (first published July 10th 2010)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  1,048 ratings  ·  292 reviews

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May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was wary of all the extravagantly glowing reviews I saw on Goodreads for Something Red (which I received from the publisher through Netgalley, thank you to them). In many cases it's simply a sign that the author has a lot of cooperative friends. I'm happy to report that this is not the case here.

I keep trying to think of other books to compare this to, and I'm finding it difficult. Maybe that's why I've had trouble writing a review for it. It's a sneaky book. What could be very dull, travelin
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not since reading Tolkien’s work over 25 years ago have I read a novel so compelling and beautifully realised. Salman Rushdie once said in an interview that most novelists are divided into the literary camp and the plot-driven camp. My preference is the work of authors that lies somewhere in between but this type of storytelling is so fiendishly hard to find. ‘Something Red’ is precisely that kind of novel, a cross-genre Bildungsroman which seamlessly combines historical fiction, high fantasy, h ...more
Holly (The Grimdragon)
"Molly's hand blurred toward her waist and the ring-pommel dagger there and whipped the slim knife from its sheath, and in the same motion flung it down the room, as a gardener carelessly flicks a pebble away from the plot he is weeding, seemingly without looking, a spinning metallic flicker that flew along the hall and ended with a whup! dead in the pith of the pine target, a third of its blade buried."

Something Red is the debut novel by Douglas Nicholas. I'm absolutely kicking myself for takin
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was written by a award winning poet. As you read it, that is evident. It is extremely descriptive and lyrical. The problem with this book is that it is extremely descriptive and lyrical. While it is beautifully written, the focus on the most minute details, causes the story to lag. To much time is spent describing people’s bath robe’s, and not enough time is spent creating a sense of urgency and danger. I also didn’t feel connected to the character’s. Molly is an extraordinary woman of ...more
A Book Vacation
Sep 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars

This novel was really not for me. I think it’s more for those who like Tolkien’s style of writing, very descriptive and a bit slow paced, fueling the story with few events and much journeying along dangerous mountains. To be quite honest, I was bored throughout most of this novel, dying to get to the shape shifters and sorcerers. While warrior monks and knights are okay, they didn’t really do anything for the story, in my opinion, aside from creating a pit stop for the main entourage as
Jason Golomb
“Something Red” is a beautifully written, patiently drawn, mood-filled literary thriller. It’s not outright scary, but one could classify it as horror. It’s not a straight out mystery, though poet-turned-novelist Douglas Nicholas drafts an expectant, slow-boil whodunit.

“Something Red” centers on a small band of travelers winding their way through northern England at the earliest onsets of winter. The story is told through the eyes of Hob, a young orphan in the care of Molly, a world-wise woman w
Alisha-Dear Constant Reader
The perfect book for fall! Lovers of mystery, thrillers, and the unknown unite! There's something in the woods and it's hungry.

Something Red centers around a troupe traveling the snowy Pennine mountains of England in the 13th century when they encounter a pervasive sense that something evil is hunting for its meat, and has its unholy eye on their troupe. What inhabits the woods and how to avoid it is the central problem for Molly, Jack, her lover, Nemain, her granddaughter, and our young Hob.

Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I originally bought this for my husband, thinking it was just the sort of medieval/fantasy stuff he loves. He did love it and strongly encouraged me to read it, as well. Fantasy is not my cup of tea at all but I was in the mood for something different so I thought I would give it a shot, after having recently read and really enjoyed Christopher Buehlman's Between Two Fires. To my surprise and pleasure, there were no fairies, trolls, Orcs, or any of that mess. There is a supernatural element to t ...more
Seregil of Rhiminee
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Douglas Nicholas' Something Red is a novel which will leave you breathless with admiration, fascination and shock. In my opinion it's the best debut novel of 2012, because it blends beautiful prose, fantasy, horror and historical elements in a perfect way.

Before I write anything else, I'll mention that Something Red restored my faith in historical fiction. I've been more or less disappointed with some of the historical novels I've tried to read during the las
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Often when I start reading a book, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. But once in a while, I am surprised, and Something Red was one of the biggest and best reading surprises I’ve had in a long time. Nicholas is a master storyteller and has the rare skill of being able gradually build a sense of dread and terror in such a way that it virtually sneaks up on the reader. This is a rather quiet story that relies not on big action scenes, but on an irresistible mix of wonderful characters a ...more
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good story. Written from a different point of view. A little slow, but the build up is written very well. you have to keep reading this. The way the author tells the story is quite interesting.

There is a lot of description and world building going on and character development.

It is very well written, but it does seem to plod along at times. Then something happens to further build up the story for the reader.

It is an enjoyable story and I have moved on to the second book and picked up the
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
What do we really know about England in the 1300 ? Douglas Nicholas tries to tell us in this book. We follow the adventures of a band of interesting characters as they travel across the countryside from somewhere to somewhere. Mr. Nicholas gives us endless fascinating detail about life on the road during those historical times.

The book starts out as a slow and pondering historical narrative, not much happens excepting daily daily life, when about one hundred and thirty pages or so into the book
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a simple story set in a handful of simple locations but is superbly written. The attention to detail and nuance in descriptions and objects gives the story a vibrant sense of authenticity and depth. The setting is tangible, the atmosphere brooding, and hanging over all is the dread of some unseen monster.
I don't feel there were any great twists but I found the story very engrossing. My one gripe would be that the climax didn't quite have the visceral punch the build-up deserved. If anyt
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lyrical and erudite, this historical Middle Ages set novel is something special, and a bit of a campfire horror tale. I've not been cast under a book's spell quite like this since I first read Lord of the Rings, as a young boy. At heart it's a coming of age story of Hob, (I generally cring at comig of age stories. It's too easy of a device, over-used and repeative.) but very well done here. The setting and characters really come to life. I feel like I've just now returned from the past by time m ...more
Cupcakes & Machetes
DNF @ page 93.

Since it’s such a short book, I really thought I could push through and write a full review. However, it was just so bland and generic fantasy (people traveling through the wild with something evil lurking about) that I had no interest in what happened. In fact, if the monster would have just hurried up and ate everyone and we were thrown to a different set of characters (ones who were much more interesting), I may have continued.

The best part of the section of the book that I read
Beth (bibliobeth)
This story whizzes us back to the thirteen century where, a young boy called Robert (Hob) is adopted by a group of travellers, and shares in their journeys. This consists of the matriarch of the family – Molly, whose talents lie in healing, Jack, an enigmatic, mysterious and silent companion, and Molly’s grand-daughter Nemain, who appears to have picked up some of the magical family traits. As we meet the group, they are travelling to a monastery where they would seek shelter before journeying f ...more
Jessica Knauss
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book very slowly, partly because of other commitments, but also because it begins as if it were a snail at the races. It's easy to put down in frustration, because the language is difficult, even for someone like me, who has spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about the thirteenth century. When the travelers are finally attacked by bandits, the author interrupts the action with the kinds of descriptions we've already read so much of: the mechanism of how to secure the carts s ...more
Darshan Elena
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That Douglas Nicholas, the author of Something Red, is a poet will come as no surprise to any reader who has passed page six of this gorgeous, lyrical narrative. His words and sentences are so precise and evocative; I found myself drawn to read, re-read, and read a third time entire passages so I could I revel in their beauty. Nicholas has a command of language that reminds me of authors such as Humberto Eco, Toni Morrison, and D. H. Lawrence. However, it isn't just the prose that attracted me a ...more
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historic fiction fans
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

Something Red is a novel that beautifully blends myth, magic, & mystery, & probably other words that start with "M" as well. It centers around a group of travelers. Molly is the leader- a tough but kind, skilled middle aged Irish woman. With her is her strong but silent lover, Jack, her granddaughter/protege Nemain, & the main character Hob, a boy who grows to manhood through this book's journey. They travel from place to place, stopping to wait
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Something Red is not what I would consider a typical fantasy novel, but that is not a criticism. It is set in 13th century England and is both a coming of age tale and a haunting mystery. There are definitely fantasy elements and magic in it, but they are not revealed or understood initially. Part of what sets it apart is that it is told from the perspective of young Hob, a 13 year old orphan (see... it is a fantasy book, it has an orphan boy as the protagonist ;) ), who is traveling with Molly, ...more
As someone who appreciates poetic language, loves 13th century and enjoys good horror, I had high hopes for this book. Sadly reading this, turned out to be a torture. I was able to make it to 86% only because I started skimming through paragraphs then through pages upon pages of pointless, repetitive descriptions: YES I KNOW THE DOOR HANGS ON METAL HINGES. MOVE ON!!!! NO? you want to tell me how the door opens? OK. SKIP.
The repetitive descriptions of characters stunted the characters rather tha
"Do not be slighting it, Ernald, great strong lad that you are and brave as a bear; it is something terrible, that no one should run to meet."

This book is beautiful and horrific. It reminded me of reading an old horror tale, where the atmosphere and setting is just as important as the plot. This is not a quick read until the last third of the book, where the evil that is stalking our protagonists becomes clear, and things get CRAZY. If you are patient enough to reach page 200 or so, if the gorg
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part historical fantasy and part horror, this novel follows a group of travellers on their journey. The country has new Norman lords, insecure in their titles and the borders are unsettled. Our witness to what happens is Hob, a young orphan boy who has spent his childhood in the home of Father Athelstan, before the old priest became too old to care for him and allowed Mistress Molly, an Irish healer, to take him with her. Accompanying Molly is her granddaughter, Nemain, and Jack Brown, a soldier ...more
Nick Brett
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare books that pop up and you feel that you are reading something different and a little bit special. Set in Medieval times, it is part historical, part horror and part coming of age and with a touch of fantasy. The author is an established poet and you can tell his love of words and language in every element of this novel including an ability to capture an age and time that is rare, even in historical fiction.

This is, in headline terms, about a small group of travellers in
Jamie Welch
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I loved this tale. Something Red was written so beautifully, I truly felt the cold of the snow and the crisp scents and sights of winter. Being that Douglas Nicholas is a poet, this translated very well into the book. I love the way the author writes, I was truly engrossed with this tale.
I found this book in passing at the book store and was intrigued by the synapse on the jacket. Being Irish myself, I was curious about the mythology in the book. Something Red does in fact have mythology in i
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Something Red absolutely blew me away. This is one of the best debuts I've read in years and the story itself still haunts my dreams. It was all the best elements of Irish folklore, historical fiction, and a very frightening mystery at its cores.

Mr. Nichols' is a very talented writer and storyteller. I love the way he puts words together and describes scenes, events, and people. He also writes great and slightly mysterious characters that I couldn't help, but fall in love with almost immediately
Chris Bauer
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how this fine book slipped under my radar. Really glad I picked it up.

This is a coming of age story, set in 13th century England. Our young protag is on the cusp of manhood and is part of a traveling group of "entertainers" wandering the medieval lands. There is a very high degree of authenticity in the work and I was impressed by the smallest of details the author took to get things just right.

The characters were all exceptionally vibrant and well constructed. The conflicts in the
Kitty Honeycutt
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Book Title: "Something Red”
Author: Douglas Nicholas
Published By: Atria
Age Recommended: 17+
Reviewed By: Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating: 5

Review: Douglas Nicholas has written a fabulous tale that weaves so many profound elements both new and old. Though the book has a great sense of the supernatural of which many of us are familiar, the author has succeeded in bringing the readers a delightful change of pace that will have you guessing the entire way.
The characters are ones that leave a lasting impress
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is a rare book indeed that I want to recommend to EVERYONE in my life. Gorgeous, poetic, atmospheric writing and compelling, mysterious characters drive this novel. FINALLY, an exciting, suspenseful narrative that uses...wait for it... RESTRAINT when it comes to supernatural elements. I will not spoil anything, but Douglas Nicholas absolutely rewards the attentive reader. Every bit of suspense and foreshadowing and character development is cashed in later. I took a break to read other books a ...more
I was in the mood for something historical and a little different when I saw Something Red by Douglas Nicholas, and it looked like it just might fit. Boy did it ever! This novel is not only historical but it’s got some paranormal/mythological elements, and it’s just downright creepy in places. For all you purist historical fiction fans, no worries because the research makes this one come to life and the elements I mentioned fit perfectly with superstitions held during that time period. Sound int ...more
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All About Fantasy!: Something Red 1 5 Jul 02, 2015 10:47AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. genre: sci-fi fantasy [s] 6 39 Aug 01, 2014 04:20AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Medieval Werewolf Fiction??? [s] 3 42 Jul 04, 2014 09:00AM  
All About Fantasy!: Something Red 1 8 Apr 01, 2014 02:56PM  

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Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Circumference, A Different Drummer, and Cumberland Review, as well as the South Coast Poetry Journal, where he won a prize in that publication's Fifth Annual Poetry Contest.

Other awards include Honorable Mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor Ho

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  • The Wicked (Something Red, #2)
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“There is nothing,” she said, and then, still looking away into the woods, reached sideways and took Ernald's arm firmly, “but be said by me, there was something hunting along our trail not a sennight since, and should it come here, see you and yours are within the gates.” She shook him gently. “Do not be slighting it, Ernald, great strong lad that you are and brave as a bear: it is something terrible, that no one should run to meet.” 2 likes
“Oh, Mistress!" Hob cried; he found that he was panting as though he had been running up a hill. "Then we are, we are trapped in this castle! With, with that thing!"

Molly's head came up.

"Nay, she said. "It is trapped in this castle with me.”
More quotes…