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William Horwood was born in Oxford in 1944, the illegitimate last child of five. He was a feature editor with the Daily Mail until 1978 when he began work on the first of his now classic Duncton Chronicles series which became instant international bestsellers. Despite their enormous success, and that of his later novels, Horwood has written that he would gladly have exchanged them all to have known the identity of his father and ‘held his hand, if only for a moment’. William has been married three times, has six children and now lives in Oxford, just a few hundred yards from where he was born.
ONLY COURAGE CAN SAVE THEIR LANDS The Hydden city of Brum now faces its darkest days; joining its greatest enemy to combat invaders. But ultimately, survival depends on its champions - Jack, Katherine and scrivener Bedwyn Stort. If they can locate a last gem, burning with fire and magic, devastation may be averted. But if the jewel fails to reach Juliet before winter's end, human and Hyddenkind will pay the price. Yet his quest will cost Stort dearly. It requires him to finally let Juliet go; the epic love that's sustained him. There is a solution, but is this buried too deep, lost beneath ice and snow?
ONLY COURAGE CAN SAVE THEIR LANDS Storms rage as the worst winter in living memory ravages the human and Hydden worlds. The prophesied End of Days is here and the universe is dying, yet only a few are even aware of the forces at work. Jack and Katherine must help their friend Bedwyn Stort halt this chaos by locating the last gem of Winter, something only he can do. Then it must be returned to the Earth's unwilling guardian, their daughter Judith. She will need it to try and reignite the fires of the universe. Yet Stort is riddled with uncertainty. He yearns for Judith, as she does for him, but a love between mortal and immortal cannot be. To find the gem, he must solve this conundrum and vanquish death itself. But can he really lead mortalkind to salvation? The climactic final volume in the Hyddenworld sequence, a lyrical epic fantasy adventure of bravery, loss and a quest for the impossible, from William Horwood, the acclaimed author of the Duncton Wood novels.
January 2011 Book of the Month. Wonderful storytelling is the hallmark of all William Horwood's novels. Here in the first of four, William has returned to his fantasy routes in this epic series that follows the flow of the seasons. The Hydden are little people with big beliefs who live on the borders of the human world and one of them, Jack is sent to live amongst humans in order to try and find a long lost object that is so dear to them but can he and his loved one that he meets in the human world find their true destiny and complete the quest he was set to do and save both worlds? This journey begins in Spring and will continue in Summer and Autumn before culminating in Winter.
I would never have thought that the author of the bestselling Duncton Wood Chronicles had such a story to tell, although I knew it would be beautifully written. It contains haunting passages constructed with a spellbinding lyricism that continues to affect you long after you have turned the final page. Capturing life in 1950’s seaside England, its appeal lies in its ability to convey the central character’s aching desolation whilst surging you on through a strength of personal spirit that is impossible to resist. The back cover says it is ‘based’ on the author’s childhood; I believed every word.
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