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(Bloodline #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  313 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Set in Dark Ages Britain, this is the story of Essa, whose father Cai leaves him behind one night at a settlement of the Wolf Clan. When the settlement is under threat from cruel Mercian bands across the forests, Essa finds he can influence the outcome of the ensuing battle in a way nobody but his father would understand.
Paperback, 312 pages
Published March 3rd 2008 by Walker & Company
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Amelia G There are two, I believe. The second is called Bloodline Rising and the third is called Spirit Hunter.

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3.57  · 
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 ·  313 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Clare Cannon
Oct 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 13-15yrs
Bloodline was an interesting story set in Britain's 'Dark Age' about a young boy who, after being abandoned by his father, is trying to find where among the many clans and kings his loyalty lies.

The historical setting is not complex but it is consistent and believable. The characters too lack real depth, but are likeable and real to some extent.

There was just something lacking, as though I missed some of the connections between events, and between Essa's one thought/action and his next. I didn't
Nov 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A novel set in the Dark Ages. The only fantastical element in the story is that Shamanistic spirit journeys are real.

Moran's debut novel suffers some odd flaws: certain plot elements are developed then just peter out to nothing e.g. there is a bit when the protagonists are lost in the forest and starving - a big thing is made of this, then suddenly, they get where they are going and are fed. The whole incident could have been omitted with no loss since there isn't even any resulting character de
Bildungsroman of a boy, Essa, in Dark Ages England who tries to prevent a war between Penda of Mercia and the Wolf Folk of East Anglia. Presentation of the culture of that period was interesting, but I couldn't bond with any of the characters. I thought the touch of fantasy odd--Essa's being able to enter and control the minds and/or bodies of birds and animals.
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I enjoyed this book a lot! I liked the setting, of course, I can't pass up much having to do with ancient Britain, I loved the characters, and the overall story was well crafted and believable. I did a faith buy on this book (because I couldn't get it from the library) under recommendation from a friend and I'm glad I did because I ended up liking it even more than I thought I would. The first couple chapters are a little slower but it's necessary to get to know Ess ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cover Blurb: The simplicity of it is nice, and I love the sunset colors. The shield and Celtic design clearly indicate what sort of story it is, and for someone like me who is always on the lookout for good Britannic stories, it’s attention-grabbing.

What I Liked: Essa is a good, strong protagonist whose anger at Cai is completely understandable. While Cai’s secretiveness and lack of communication with his son is later explained - and I can also understand Cai’s reasons - I still sympathized with
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here.

This story begins when Essa is nine years old and has just been abandoned by his father. I felt an immediate liking and sympathy for Essa that never abated as the story moved forward. He has a short temper, and sometimes makes ridiculously stupid decisions, but I liked him all the more for those weaknesses. He finds himself caught up in a war he wants no part of and at the center of a political struggle he was not prepared to face. No matter what choices he makes he is goi
I knew no one else could hit the bar set by Rosemary Sutcliff, but from the description I was hoping for at least Sutcliff-light. Sadly, I didn't get it.

The characterization here is completely inconsistent; one minute the protagonist is plotting to kill someone, the next minute they're best friends. He doesn't so much change his mind as spend the entire novel spinning in a circle on his heel as fast as he can. This may be an accurate depiction of teenagerdom (or sociopathy), but it's not exactly
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tale of "Bloodline" follows a recurring question: loyal to whom?

The story begins in a Wixnan village near the border of a Mercian camp where 9-summers-old Essa is abandoned by his father, Cai, without any warning. Cai and Essa were wanderers, so it was a highly unusual event. The village ends up taking Essa in, and he goes on to live in the village for many years, making friends and feeling like he belongs. However, the life as he knew it changed when he was 14 summers old. The village was u
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A smooth , compelling read set in Dark Ages England, one of my favourite periods and settings. Traces the stroy of Essa, a half Briton, half Saxon boy abandoned by his travelling bar/spy/father in a Wixna village without explanation when he is nine
He grows up in the village, struggles to find his place in the world until his village is attacked by Mercian marauders. He not has a mission to fulfill, while preventing war between the various kingdoms and tribal federations, and has a psychic talent
I read this book for the ATY 2019 Reading Challenge Week 39: A book with a strong sense of place.

Essa has traveled with his father for many years. His father is a wandering storyteller. Once they get to Hild's village, Cai leaves him and for seven years Essa wonders why. He is certain of his father's death. Until he finds him in a Mercian encampment with King Penda, then he wants to know who and what his father is. He travels with Wulf to the High King hoping to stop a war with Penda and the Wol
Charles Baker
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It took me back to my childhood when I read Norse mythology, history, and tales of the Vikings, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and more invading Britain and other parts of Europe. The clash of cultures, languages, and religions makes for great drama.
Kitty-Lydia Dye
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved the fantasy elements and the vivid descriptions, but I found the actual plot confusing. The political intrigue and characters turning against one another felt forced.
Manda Scott
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Those of us who grew up with Rosemary Sutcliff as our lodestone, our baseline, our highest bar of excellence in the writing of the ancient world for children (and for adults) have long been looking for someone who might pick up her mantle: someone who could combine the glorious freedom and innocence of childhood with the magic of old Britain and the sense of battling against vast powers, but with a possibility of success.

Lots of authors have tried and some have come close, but Katy Moran's 'Bloo
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval-england
What to say, what to say; I am not sure I can describe my exact feelings after reading this book, but I will try. Definitely, among the better historical books that I have read, this story draws you back over a thousand years to medieval England. The tale follows Essa, a young boy who was abandoned in an unfamiliar village by his father Cai, as he grows into a warrior. As a character, Essa has the typical angsty teenager attitude to all the adults in his life, especially his father, but despite ...more
This book is not normally what I'd pick up: an early medieval Britian setting where the main character is a boy growing to be a young man caught between warring clans/kingdoms. My general reaction to bloody war stories can be summed up as "Blech!"

Despite that, I still found this an interesting book. Essa is essentially abandoned by his father at about age 9. His life until then had been a traveling one, but afterward, he lives in a village that is caught between one evil king and another useless
I wanted this to be a 5-star book, but there were a few things about it that detracted from my enjoyment. First, this is a book about politics and family relationships and it's full of different names and alliances that were hard to keep straight, and this is coming from an adult who's read and (mostly followed) A Game of Thrones etc. Not sure if teens would be willing to put up with this. A list of characters with brief descriptions at the back would have helped a lot.

Second, the fantasy aspec
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was... strange...
Okay, honestly, it bored me deeply at times. It could stray into the fantasy political, which isn't my thing, and each time it did my eyes would glaze over a bit and then I'd miss some little, essential part. Suddenly the main character would be thinking about why he had to kill someone and I would be like, "Wait, what? I thought you two were friends!"
Even with my tuning out, though, this book was kind of predictable. Yes, there were some things I was surprised about,
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This might be an artificially inflated five stars, but there's a reason for it valid enough that I'm giving the rating anyway. I've been reading prodigiously lately while doing much waiting around, and of all the excellent books I've read this is the one that's stuck with me the most, the one my mind keeps returning to and the one I'm most hoping to find a sequel for. Since some of those others rated four stars in my mind, then I feel it only fair to give this one five. I want to read it again, ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for

Essa's father brings him to a camp one day and leaves him there without any explanation. Essa's forced to grow up in the village without any sense of home. Years pass peacefully until the village's rival threatens war. Essa must do his duty and spy on the neighboring village.

He's expected back in two days, but he's gone for much longer. He's caught while spying on the camp. The father he thought was dead is alive in the village. Essa's forced to sw
Miz Lizzie
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young adults, especially boys
This historical adventure story will especially appeal to teenage boys who are strong readers. The setting of 7th century Britain, the warring tribes, and especially the conflict between the Christian Britains and the Norse Anglish provide an interesting pairing to the fantastical imaginings of a slightly later period in Runemarks. Essa is abandonned by his father, a travelling scop or ballad singer, in the Wolf People's village as a young boy. Though he remains something of an outsider, Essa be ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A smooth , compelling read set in Dark Ages England, one of my favourite periods and settings. Traces the stroy of Essa, a half Briton, half Saxon boy abandoned by his travelling bar/spy/father in a Wixna village without explanation when he is nine
He grows up in the village, struggles to find his place in the world until his village is attacked by Mercian marauders. He not has a mission to fulfill, while preventing war between the various kingdoms and tribal federations, and has a psychic talent
Lady Knight
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It's an adventure, suspense, coming-of-age story with a hint of romance. It feels very period appropriate. Ranks up there with Rosemary Sutcliff novels in its portrayal of Britain after the Romans and while the Saxons are settling in.

Essa is the son of Cai, a scop and spy; welcomed and feared by every hall across Britain. At the age of nine, Essa is left with Cai's foster sister, on Anglish lands belonging to the Wolf People. Cai has always told Essa that gold is poiso
Sep 04, 2015 rated it liked it
the narrating of the novel was off somehow, it felt dry and weak , and Essa was irritating with his mood shifts and the way he is deciding who he likes and who he hates, he did nothing really but go with the flow, I think non of the characters were fully aware of what they are actually plotting, everyone is changing their mind , "kill him , hit him, pat him, bounden him, be his enemy , become friends"!!!.
and what makes Essa so special I absolutely have no idea, the ch. were shallow, and not car
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Deborah, Cheryl
Essa and his father are wanderers, since Cai is a scop (bard) and they are always on the move. Essa wishes they could stay in one place. Then one morning he wakes to find his father gone, with no message or explanation. Years pass and Essa is raised by Hild, makes friends, grows into adolescence all with no idea of his father's whereabouts and believing his mother to be dead. Stone Age Britain was not a peaceful place, though, and soon politics and war will gather Essa up and require sacrifice a ...more
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me a great deal of Dickinson's Cup of the World series that I read a couple of years ago. That was set in a fantasy world, and Moran's setting is a very real ancient Britain and the events are true. Essa travels from one enemy camp to another, a spy for the cruel Mercians as well as the Christian Wolf Folk. Unbeknown to him, he also has ties to another, more powerful ruler in Britian, but it will take an unusual alliance and bloodshed for him to find the clues to his past. Thi ...more
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Essa is the son of an English bard in early Medieval times. When his father leaves him in one village, all he wants to do is flee, but in time he forges some strong bonds with the villagers. By the time he is 13 or so, he becomes deeply entangled in a plot among local warrior kings, and must eventually fight to save his village.
For a first novel, this one is a real winner. Great characters, a true and detailed historical setting, a twisted plot and a good story rest on solid research that never
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it
I guess I'd give this a 3.5. The story wasn't that original, but after about 100 pages I wanted to see what happened. One thing that really annoyed me about this book was the few other language phrases the author threw in (the people in the book are supposed to be speaking another language). Instead of saying "Go get the horses" the author said "Do you go get the horses" so that even though it's a statement it sounds like a question. This was the only thing he added from the foreign language and ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 11th-grade
this is a good book about old time life and has a lot of fighting for the guys. it is also some what of a love story. when i read this book i thought it was similar to the movie 1000 B.C because it takes place in the olden days and also there is a love destiny where the girl is taken and the guy goes on a big journy to resue his love. this takes place in britain and a young guy named Essa must help his village out because it is being taken over by another kingdom, it is a fantasy beause the fact ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, should-be-a-movie
In the wilds of Dark Age Britain, Cai abandons his 9 year old son, Essa, in a village trapped between two feuding kingdoms. As the once-nomadic boy grows rooted in the life of the Wolf Folk, forging allegiances and learning to control his gift of entering the minds of animals, King Penda of Mercia threatens to attack, thrusting Essa into the violent and cunning world of the tribal rulers.

Read it in 1 day. Super fast, super easy, really enjoyable(could've done without all the Christianity in the
An interesting look at the Dark Ages in Britain after the Romans left. Essa is the son of Cai, a bard, and he has traveled with him his whole life. Then one day Cai leaves him at a Wixna settlement, and just disappears, leaving Essa to be raised by the villagers. When Essa comes of age, he accepts a gold ring of fealty to a Wolf Lord, then begins a long adventure to fulfill his mission of spying on Lord Penda's neighboring tribe who is poised to invade the Wolf people's lands. Essa must choose h ...more
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Around the Year i...: Bloodline, by Katy Moran 1 5 Jul 22, 2019 07:01AM  

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Katy Moran began writing BLOODLINE while she was still in college. A former children’s book editor, she now spends her days writing in her garden shed in London.

Other books in the series

Bloodline (3 books)
  • Bloodline Rising (Bloodline, #2)
  • Spirit Hunter (Bloodline, #3)