Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, #1)” as Want to Read:
By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

By Darkness Hid

(Blood of Kings #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  2,590 ratings  ·  303 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about By Darkness Hid, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about By Darkness Hid

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,590 ratings  ·  303 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, #1)
Tracey Dyck
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been following Jill Williamson for YEARS now, and can't believe it's taken me this long to read one of her books! But here I am, finally, on the other side of By Darkness Hid. It's a deceptively small-scale fantasy story that's actually a part of a much grander scheme, as we find out in the end.

What I Loved

-Achan really grew on me. He has a relatable blend of strength, fear, dry wit, fledgling confidence, and heroism about him. Branded as a stray (orphan), he becomes a squire and begins to
Michelle Griep
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Did I just really find a new Christian Fiction series that is amazing? Yes, yes I did. I actually read this book a few months ago but just now decided to do the review.

The kingdom of Er’rets is half covered in Darkness and the other half sees the sun. In a land full of ebens, poroo, and unique and terrifying creatures, there is the power of bloodvoicing. Some consider it a gift, one man thinks he’s gone crazy. Achan Cham is worse off than an orphan, he’s a stray. As a slave, he works in the kitc
Deborah O'Carroll

Originally read July 1, 2011

A very exciting book, alternating between Achan and Vrell's points of view until their stories meet at the end. Both of them are relatable and interesting characters, very easy to slip into the minds of--literally. I've always thought someone should do a story with mind abilities like they have in this book, and now Jill Williamson has, with Bloodvoicing. It's very cool and well thought out. I enjoyed following along on the adventure, as Ach
Lila Kims
Jill Williamson has been a HUGE inspiration to me as a writer for a long time now, all thanks to the epicness of the Go Teen Writers blog and the amazingness of the GTW book. I've been meaning to pick up some of her fiction, specifically Blood of Kings, for quite a while now, so I'm excited I finally got around to By Darkness Hid and that it didn't disappoint!

What's to love about this book, you ask? Well...

- A girl of nobility disguises as a peasant boy (or rather, a "stray" boy - the lowest of
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, wish-list
This book!! I came into the story knowing it was going to be good, but it was even better than I'd ever hoped!

I connected instantly with the characters - particularly Achan - and was so invested in their story that I didn't want to stop reading ever.

The plot also kept me turning pages, and though I at least partially guessed some of the twists and turns, it was still so gripping and I adored every second of it.

Highly recommend! Definitely another new favourite of mine.
R.J. Rodda
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, fantasy
'By Darkness Hid' is a gripping fantasy read. It tells the story of the stray, Achan, who is considered the lowest of the low. He draws the attention of Sir Gavin, a knight, when he defends a young boy from being bullied and from thence his life changes, not always for the better. This is a pleasure to read as it is very well written. Achan is an underdog that refuses to be cowed and watching him handle very difficult circumstances with courage is what is most likeable about this book. I was les ...more
Rachael Steele
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The second half is really exciting, but I almost DNF.
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
Grace Mullins
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What did I think? One of the best books ever. All the hearts. 😄
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
M.H. Elrich
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful example of Fantasy. Williamson creates an intriguing main character, Achan, and an equally interesting supporting character, Verra. I love how she keeps you guessing until the very end and even though I suspected the way it would end, I was still surprised. This is only the first of the series and I definitely want to read the rest to see what happens to Achan and Verra.
C.B. Cook
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a wonderful story! I can't wait to read the next book.
Janna Ryan
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
[3.5 out of 5 stars]

Chalk this up as the first book I've read on the subject of mind-reading. It is a fascinating premise for epic fantasy.

I would like the story much more if I weren't so annoyed by Achan. His pathetic romances in particular: He forgets pretty girl number 1 as soon as he is kissed by pretty girl number 2... What fidelity! Vrell, on the other hand, is more interesting; and I greatly anticipate reading the rest of the series all because of her.

The distinct UN-cleverness of most of
D.M. Dutcher
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, christian
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
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
Leah Good
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Claire Banschbach
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: youth, fantasy
I enjoyed this book quite a bit and like the characters alot. That being said, I really didn't like book 2 and haven't decided whether I will even bother to read book 3. The books left the entertaining realm of fantasy and became very, very pushy on religion and duty. I stopped even liking the characters at that point. This book isn't really a stand alone book, it is meant to be part one of a series. I would not recommend the entire series, so it is hard to support the first book, which I'd orig ...more
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!
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Vernona E
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Rose (Adventurous Bookworm)
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-own-2020
What in the world did I just read?
I'm speechless.
Michael Otto
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Wood
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is What Sword & Sorcery Fantasy Should Be!

Jill Williamson writes "Christian Speculative Fiction", but this book is also a premier example of good Sword & Sorcery Fantasy. This novel features several strong protagonists, one of which is an orphan boy serving as a kitchen helper in a medieval stronghold. Another is a young woman of noble birth, heir to a powerful Duchy. We don't find any sorcery, although the Royal family and their descent do have a power to communicate by some sort of telepa
Samuel Blake
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, christian
It was amazing. I loved the part where he finds out about himself. And the blood voice ability is pretty cool to have. I wish I had it.
Judy Rogers
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down. Although I was a tad frustrated here and there... wanted to shout at one character to look around. Eagerly grabbed the second book though! And by the way have read the whole series more than once. It's not often I re-read a book.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Blood Of King...: By Darkness Hid 57 24 May 26, 2017 08:01AM  
Christian Specula...: Christian Fantasy actually exists 18 54 Feb 24, 2014 07:21PM  
forgot 1 11 Nov 21, 2013 06:11AM  
What do you think??? 1 16 Nov 24, 2011 04:04AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword, #1)
  • The Hero's Lot (The Staff and the Sword #2)
  • Fawkes
  • A Draw of Kings (The Staff and the Sword #3)
  • Flight of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #2)
  • Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles, #1)
  • The Story Peddler (The Weaver Trilogy, #1)
  • Cry of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #3)
  • Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1)
  • Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes, #1)
  • Cloak of the Light (Wars of the Realm, #1)
  • The Shock of Night (The Darkwater Saga, #1)
  • Light of the Last (Wars of the Realm, #3)
  • Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #1)
  • The Story Hunter (The Weaver Trilogy, #3)
  • The Warrior's Curse (The Traitor's Game #3)
  • The Vault Between Spaces
  • Dare (The Blades of Acktar, #1)
See similar books…
Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and an award-winning fantasy and science fiction author of over twenty books including By Darkness Hid, which won several awards and was named a Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror novel of 2009 by VOYA magazine.

She has also written several books on the craft of writing fiction and teaches writing in person and online o

Other books in the series

Blood of Kings (3 books)
  • To Darkness Fled (Blood of Kings, #2)
  • From Darkness Won (Blood of Kings, #3)

News & Interviews

In most historical romances, love and marriage go together like...well, a horse and carriage. But what if the girl part of the girl-meets-boy...
30 likes · 17 comments