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(Skin #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  47 reviews

A thrilling historical novel and the sequel to the critically acclaimed Skin, perfect for fans of Outlander and Game of Thrones.

One woman’s quest to defend her culture.

Haunted by the Roman attack that destroyed her home, Ailia flees to the remote Welsh mountains in search of the charismatic war king, Caradog, who is leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 4th 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Ilka Tampke Hi Laura,
Taliesin's fate is discussed in this book, but Songwoman is a new chapter in Ailia's life.…more
Hi Laura,
Taliesin's fate is discussed in this book, but Songwoman is a new chapter in Ailia's life.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“And there, atop a mountain in the centre of the free tribelands, with my heart beating just a finger’s width away from that of Albion’s greatest war king, I felt the Mothers’ intention surge up from the stone, through my legs and spine and into my chest. I knew that they had wrought this land to strengthen our fight, and that there could be no more powerful place for the warriors of Albion to meet Rome than this.”

Songwoman is the sequel to Skin, the debut novel by Australian author, Ilka T
Text Publishing
Text Publishing has five exclusive early reading copies of this dazzling historical fiction novel from Skin author Ilka Tampke to give away. Fans of Outlander, Game of Thrones and The Mists of Avalon will love Songwoman.

To enter, PM us with your full name, address, and 'Songwoman giveaway' in the subject line. Competition closes 17 September 2018. Good luck!

‘Songwoman is a sparkling piece of writing, shot through with complex moral struggles and questions about what it means to belong to a pl
Christine Spoors
After adoring the first book in this series, Skin, I’m so disappointed to say that I just couldn’t get into this one. It felt like I was reading something completely different and the main character was so full of self importance for most of the book that I didn’t enjoy her POV as much.

It was still interesting to read about the Celtic tribes in Wales during the Roman invasions, and interesting to see how the author imagined the traditions of the tribes. For some reason this book just wasn’t for
Songwoman, Ilka Tampke’s second novel, is the sequel to her remarkably successful novel Skin which has had international rights sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, UK and Vietnam. A blend of historical fiction and fantasy, Skin was shortlisted for the 2015 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and longlisted for the 2016 Voss. You can see my review here).

It isn’t necessary, however, to have read the first in the series. Songwoman is an assured novel, again a blend of historical fi
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! A spectacular and important book, which has left me with a vivid picture of this pivotal period in Britain’s history – and of which so many themes still resonate for the world today. Clearly extensive research has gone into writing this intelligent and insightful book. Loved it. Highly recommend it.
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘I had a title to bear. I had a war to win.’

Set in Iron-Age Britain, Ailia of Caer Cad has been in a self-imposed exile since her village was destroyed by the Romans. But she realises that she has a role to play if the free tribes of Albion are to resist the Roman attack and retain their ties to the land. Ailia is the Kendra of Albion, and after ending her exile, she seeks out the chieftain Caradog.

Ailia arrives at Llanmelin as a Journeywoman, but her minimal training with the Mothers has not eq
Tsana Dolichva
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Songwoman by Ilka Tampke is set during the time of the Roman invasion of Britain, around the 40s AD. It is technically a sequel to Skin, but actually both books stand alone fairly well. They follow the same protagonist, but the two stories are separate, if sequential. I read Skin during a blog hiatus, so there is only a mini review of it, alas.

I started reading Songwoman after a day trip to northern Wales, during which a friend and I visited a few castles (built more than a millennium after this
Vikki Patis
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
It is with great difficulty that I give this book, the sequel to Skin, only 3 stars. I absolutely adored Skin - it was beautiful, lyrical, enchanting. Songwoman, although it is similar in many ways, was not quite as captivating.

Sequels can be harder to write, and certain issues that often plague sequels are present in this book. It felt much longer than Skin, with more focus on Caradog and his war against the Roman invaders. After Skin, this focus did not feel right to me. However, Tampke has t
This second instalment in the Kendra series deals with events well known in history, anchoring the historical fiction elements perhaps more strongly than the fantasy elements, probably to my preference. Tampke creates a depressive Caradog, torn between lust for power, glory in battle, fear for his people and bouts of deep hopelessness. There is, of course, a romance (book would have been fine without it) and power struggles within the druids (more enjoyable) but the heart of this book is the ima ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this book was a little jarring to start with due to the fact it had lost it's mythical, magical style of narrative to begin with, I was a little worried I wasn't going to love it like I did with Skin. I was also a little surprised by the lack of attention to the events that happened at the end of Skin. However, I soon began find the rhythm and flow of the book and began to really enjoy the story. So much so that I struggled to put it down and couldn't wait to pick it up again. I felt so ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It has been 10 years since a book grabbed me like this one-the last being Paulo Coehlo’s Brida. Songwoman was the first book of Ilke Tampke’s I’ve read and I absolutely loved it. It was a beautiful story of deep connection. Artfully and without being political at all, the story reflected so many parallels in the way dominant western culture continues to infiltrate the tribal culture and laws in respect and reverence for the earth and spirit. Ilke has crafted her way into my heart as one of my ne ...more
Vicki Antipodean Bookclub
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Once you make this bond between poem and earth, then you are bound to this place. The land will hold the poem for you, but you must come back to renew your memory and to honour the bond.” He placed his palms over mine and pressed them firmly against the stone. “For as the land gives you the song, so too must you give it the song.”
Ailia is The Kendra, the chosen one, the divine link between the Mothers and the tribes of iron-age Britain. Having watched her township slaughtered by Roman soldie
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ailia is as fierce as ever. I love this depiction of the Britons fighting back against the encroaching Roman Empire. This historical fiction breathes life into a people who are long since gone. Caradog is compelling. A culture comes to life with the rhythm of Tampke’s work. Reading her books, I want more than ever to hike these hills and explore this land so rich in history. One of the sad moments of the victors of war writing the accounts is so much richness is lost from history to give the win ...more
Joanne Tinkler (Mamajomakes)
I was drawn to this as it is a historical fiction novel, which is a genre that I enjoy immensely, and the synopsis of the story reeled me in. The writer’s description of the geographical settings are very good and I could imagine myself being there along with the characters. The portrayal of how the people lived in there settlements was also excellent and the impact that the Mothers has on their lives.

Unfortunately I didn’t particularly like Ailia, Caradog and any of the main characters and, th
Joanne Tinkler (Mamajomakes)
I was drawn to this as it is a historical fiction novel, which is a genre that I enjoy immensely, and the synopsis of the story reeled me in. The writer’s description of the geographical settings are very good and I could imagine myself being there along with the characters. The portrayal of how the people lived in there settlements was also excellent and the impact that the Mothers has on their lives.

Unfortunately I didn’t particularly like Ailia, Caradog and any of the main characters and, th
Rachel Glass
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The same beautiful writing style as 'Skin', with a story more focused on war, which was the main reason I didn't enjoy it as much. I didn't much care for Caradog as a character but liked Rhian and the storyline to do with Ailia's learning of songlore (would have quite liked more of that). ...more
D.M. Cameron
Fantastic sequel to Skin. Ailia is a kick arse heroine - complex and real and yet she is the chosen one...loved every minute of this book. Felt like I was there with my ancestors. Highly recommend.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was an interesting experience reading this so close to Christmas, since it involved the occupation of Britain by the Romans and the imposition of their Gods and worship on the people. This is especially since the date that we celebrate the birth of Christ overlays the celebration of the solistice (a device no doubt to ensure this celebration was engaged in by all).

I found the passages relating to place, identity and sovereignty really interesting. I think Tampke showed the importance of these
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Songwoman is a powerful follow up to Skin and stands alone as a vivid window into a little-known period of history, the dogged resistance by tribal people to the Roman invasion of Britain. If this resonates with Australia's own history of colonisation, it is supposed to. This story honours people around the world who have resisted invasion as they try to hold on a culture that is being overpowered. In Ailia's world, the bond between people and the land, and their relationship with their spiritua ...more
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After loving Skin I couldn't wait to pick up this sequel and lose myself again in Ailia's story. The structure of this book is different to Skin in that the plot is predominantly focused on Caradog's fight against Roman invasion. In Skin there were more narrative threads which came together at the end so, overall, was a more mysterious and intriguing story. However I still loved Songwoman and found it be a solid, consistent continuation of Ailia's story. Ilka Tampke has a real talent for describ ...more
Asha - A Cat, A Book, And A Cup Of Tea

First things first, this book does not really stand alone, so will be hard to review without spoilers. Consider this fair warning not to read any further if you haven’t read Skin – though if you like historical fiction and are interested in Celtic Britain, go and pick it up, because it’s fabulous!

Songwoman picks up Ailia’s story and follows her from her secluded exile to her involvement with the warlord Caradog’s attempts to oust the Romans from Britain. I found that this second book focused a l
Gretchen Bernet-Ward
An historical novel of betrayal, bitterness and the fight to reclaim what was brutally taken using equally brutal means. The eternal struggle for power threads throughout this story in various disguises but love hovers in the shadows, most believably and poignantly portrayed between war king Caradog and songwoman Ailia.

The descriptions and sense of place are strong, Ilka Tampke has certainly mastered the art of show-don’t-tell and puts the everyday things seamlessly into the narrative. Some para
Bev Walkling
I read the first book in this series last summer and really enjoyed it so I asked my local library to order this one in and was first on the list for when it arrived. I also received 3 books from NetGalley to read and review at the same time so this ended up on the backburner for awhile.

I think the length of time between reading Skin and this book was a drawback. I felt I had to relearn the characters although many were brand new to the reader in the second book. Set in Britain around the time w
Laura Bux
May 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
A two star review is probably unfair given that I absolutely love this author’s writing style - it is fast paced and has just the right amount of action vs world building/description. I love that it is dialogue heavy and some of the writing is so incredibly and beautifully poetic. BUT I was so disappointed in this book as sequel. It all felt kind of pointless. The magic and otherworldlyness I loved from the first book was no longer there - it was more about war strategy and becoming a war chief’ ...more
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I accidentally started reading this before Skin without realising it was the follow-up, so I did have to backtrack and read the first in the series, though not before I had spoiled a little of the first's plot. That didn't really matter in the end. Songwoman had a different feel to it, and a remarkably different plot, but I still felt completely carried away by Tampke's ability with words. The whole time I was reading it felt like a movie or series rather than a text. I realised while reading th ...more
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Loved the deep spiritual journey this character goes on. Unfortunately I was half way through before I realised it was the 2nd in a series! I will now have to go back to read Skin.
Lots of war and tactical ploys, which was a little drawn out for me, but relevant to the story. The human sacrifice ritual was tough to read, but gave me a wonderful insight into what that experience may have been like back then and how the dominant culture was able to do this. Especially as the person performing this
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ailia joins forces with Caradog in his battle to prevent Rome from taking over Albion entirely. As Kendra, her power is absolute and she is able to advise on matters of war as well as more spiritual things. But through the powers of the Mothers, Ailia learns that all cannot be as hoped for. I absolutely loved Skin, the first book about Ailia, so approached this with some trepidation as second novels can often disappoint. This one did not. I loved the setting, the characters and the storyline. It ...more
Lise Frances
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
There were many ways that made this a very enjoyable read. A standout was the way the characters spoke that for me, read as very realistic with a pleasurable amount of poeticism.
The story overall was interesting and spoke to history.
However, I found the lack of strong female characters annoying. The lead character is of course but beyond that there is a lack and maybe this reflects history, but, I feel with it being fictionalised history it could easily have had another strong (positive) female.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love this period in history, where the feisty Britons rebel against the Roman Empire. Full of Celtic mythology and the powerful role of women in tribal Briton, this is perfect for fans of Juliet Marillier and Manda Scott's Boudicca series. And it does portray the Roman viewpoint fairly. Resilence, sacrifice for the greater good and the power of belief are all played out in this historical account, but remain extremely relevant in contemporary society. ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't realize this book was a sequel so spent the first half a little confused as to the issue that Alia was so upset about. The first book Daughter of Albion has been re-released as Skin. The writing was good the story was okay. I grew impatient with the main character who was supposed to be the first among the journeyman yet kept letting others walk all over her. I can see that there will be a third book as well. ...more
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Ilka Tampke teaches fiction at RMIT University. Her first novel, Skin, was published in eight countries and was nominated for the Voss Literary Prize and the Aurealis Awards in 2016. Ilka lives on five acres in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria.

Other books in the series

Skin (2 books)
  • Skin (Skin #1)

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