Against a Darkening Sky
Lauren B. Davis
Against a Darkening Sky is set in 7th-century Northumbria and follows Wilona, a seeress and healer whose life and way of being in the world are threatened by the coming of Christianity; and Egan, a young monk from Eire whose visions may have brought him to Christ, but whose experience of the sacred puts him at odds with the Roman church. Full of magic and mystery, Lauren B. Davis's novel explores what happens when one's experience and beliefs clash with those of the people in power. (From HarperCollins Canada)
The girl held the freckled hand for hours; long past the moment it first began to grow cold. She sat on a stool next to the bed with a sheepskin wrapped around her shoulders, yet still she shivered, for nothing but embers remained of the fire in the clay pit. The bodies of her aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbours lay scattered about the hamlet, some still in their beds, some on the floor of their houses, some waiting on the burial ground. Those who died early, her father and brothers and sister among them, rested in peace beneath the earth. A terrible silence squatted, troll-like, over the village. The dogs harried the corpses until the girl threw stones at them, and then they disappeared to the hills. The two shepherd boys either ran off or died, and the sheep had wandered away. Even the few remaining chickens refrained from squawking. When she had gone down to the river to get water yesterday, the cries of a pair of early-nesting ravens startled her, but now they, too, were silent. Her swollen eyes felt sand-filled. With her free hand she touched her neck, her armpit, her groin. Nothing.
From Against a Darkening Sky by Lauren B. Davis ©2015. Published by HarperCollins Canada.