The Siege Winter: A Novel (Hardcover)
A powerful historical novel by the late Ariana Franklin and her daughter Samantha Norman, The Siege Winter is a tour de force mystery and murder, adventure and intrigue, a battle for a crown, told by two courageous young women whose fates are intertwined in twelfth century England’s devastating civil war.
1141. England is engulfed in war as King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda, vie for the crown. In this dangerous world, not even Emma, an eleven-year-old peasant, is safe. A depraved monk obsessed with redheads kidnaps the ginger-haired girl from her village and leaves her for dead. When an archer for hire named Gwyl finds her, she has no memory of her previous life. Unable to abandon her, Gwyl takes the girl with him, dressing her as a boy, giving her a new name—Penda—and teaching her to use a bow. But Gwyn knows that the man who hurt Penda roams free, and that a scrap of evidence she possesses could be very valuable.
Gwyl and Penda make their way to Kenilworth, a small but strategically important fortress that belongs to fifteen-year-old Maud. Newly wedded to a boorish and much older husband after her father’s death, the fierce and determined young chatelaine tempts fate and Stephen’s murderous wrath when she gives shelter to the empress.
Aided by a garrison of mercenaries, including Gwyl and his odd red-headed apprentice, Maud will stave off Stephen’s siege for a long, brutal winter that will bring a host of visitors to Kenilworth—kings, soldiers . . . and a sinister monk with deadly business to finish.
About the Author
Ariana Franklin was the award-winning author of Mistress of the Art of Death and the critically acclaimed, bestselling medieval thriller series of the same name, as well as the twentieth-century thriller City of Shadows. She died in 2011, while writing The Siege Winter.
Samantha Norman is Ariana Franklin’s daughter. A successful feature writer, columnist, and film critic, she lives in London.
“[A] thoroughly captivating tale.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will note Franklin’s hand in the storytelling and see the freshness Norman brings to the tale, filled with fascinating characters who drive the plot as much as the tempestuous backdrop. With its bit of intrigue, historical setting and lovely characters, readers will be captivated by this compelling tale.”
— Historical Novels Review
Praise for Grave Goods: “Richly detailed, almost indecently thrilling.”
— Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review (on Grave Goods)
“Norman and Franklin excel . . . in this richly researched, female-driven historical mystery. ”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“Medieval-mystery writing at its best.”
— NY Daily News
” Both harsh and lovely, this novel seizes you from the first page, heart and soul, and doesn’t let go!”
— Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Chalice
“Vivid and engaging...succeeds brilliantly as both historical fiction and crime thriller. [A] terrific book...with a dozen twists.”
— Diana Gabaldon, Washington Post (on Mistress of the Art of Death)
“One of the most compelling, suspenseful mysteries I’ve read in years.”
— New York Times bestselling author Sharon Kay Penman (on Mistress of the Art of Death)