From the author of Our Daily Bread and The Empty Room comes a fascinating new novel of mysterious, magic-riddled 7th-century England: Against A Darkening Sky transports the reader to a rich yet violent past, an era convulsing with change, in which a young woman is torn between her faith and her desire to belong.
Wilona, the lone survivor of a plague that wiped out her people, stumbles out of the moors to a new life in the village of Ad Gefrin. There she is apprenticed to Touilt, a revered healer and seeress. She blossoms under Touilt’s tutelage and will one day take her place but, as an outsider, she is viewed with suspicion by all except Margawn, a warrior in the lord’s hall. When the king arrives, proclaiming a conversion to the new Christian religion, Ad Gefrin becomes dangerous for Wilona and Touilt as the villagers embrace the new faith and turn against the old ways, even as Wilona’s relationship with Margawn grows. Wilona’s fate becomes intertwined with that of Egan, a monk sent to Ad Gefrin as part of the Christian mission; both will see their faith tested.
Torn between loyalty to the old gods, and loyalty to her adopted kin, Wilona battles for survival, dignity and love against overwhelming odds. Exploring timeless conflicts and offering rich, nuanced historical details that bring pagan Britain to life, Against a Darkening Sky is an exquisitely rendered work of fiction from one of Canada’s most acclaimed and celebrated novelists.
“Lauren B. Davis’s Against a Darkening Sky brilliantly achieves the ideal for a historical novel: period and milieu seem utterly inextricable from character and theme, and together they illuminate timeless and universal truths of the human condition. Seventh-century England is fascinating. Wilona is achingly real. Her quest for an identity and a place in the world are richly resonant. Davis is a remarkable writer.” —Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain