Spindle and Dagger (Paperback)

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“This gritty narrative brings a little-known period in history to life. . . . Dramatic and intense.” —Kirkus Reviews

Wales, 1109. Three years ago, a warband raided Elen’s home, killing both her elder and baby sister. Elen survived sexual assault, and when she saw a chance to live, she took it. She healed the wound of the war band’s leader, Owain, and spun a lie: Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. He has the protection of Saint Elen, so long as he keeps her namesake near him and safe from harm.

Since then, Elen has had food, clothes, and a bed that she shares with the man who brought that warband to her door. But then Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a Norman lord, and her three children. War breaks out, and as her careful lies threaten to unravel, Elen looks to Nest and begins to imagine a different life—if she can decide, once and for all, where her loyalties lie. J. Anderson Coats’s evocative prose immerses the reader in a dark, affirming tale of power and survival.

About the Author

J. Anderson Coats is the author of books and short stories for children and young adults. Her first novel, the critically acclaimed The Wicked and the Just, is also a story of medieval Wales. J. Anderson Coats lives and works as a librarian near Seattle, Washington.

Praise For…

An unruly, bloodthirsty band of warriors rampages through 12th-century Wales...this gritty narrative brings a little-known period in history to life...Dramatic and intense; not for the fainthearted.
—Kirkus Reviews

The story (set during 1109–1110) is based on an account in a medieval Welsh chronicle. Its plot involves the ornate politics of small kingdoms and family allegiances, and the impositions and political weight of England’s Norman king. Amidst all the masculine burning and pillaging, Elen’s first-person, present-tense telling...sheds a light on female survival and resistance.
—The Horn Book

The story is bleak, brutal, and unforgiving, narrated by Elen herself, making the experience that much more immediate and personal. Supporting materials include the lineage of Welsh royal houses, a map, and a pronunciation guide for the Welsh words in the story, as well as an historical note.

This intense and dark survival tale takes place in Wales in 1109...The high-level intensity of the plot makes this a better choice for older readers who have an interest in medieval history.
—School Library Connection

Product Details
ISBN: 9781536239867
ISBN-10: 1536239860
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English