Dark Earth

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What to expect

‘Magical and evocative’ Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

‘Heartachingly poignant’ Lucy Holland, author of Sistersong

‘An ancient tapestry of legend brilliantly rewoven’ Francis Spufford, author of Light Perpetual

The new novel from the Costa-Award winning author of In The Days of Rain.

AD 500. An island in the Thames.

Isla has a secret: she has learned her father’s sophisticated sword-making skills at a time when even entering a forge is forbidden to women. Her sister, Blue, has a secret, too: at low tide on the night of each new moon, she visits the bones of the mud woman, drowned by the elders of her tribe who wanted to make a lesson of someone who wouldn’t hold her tongue. When the local Seax overlord discovers Isla’s secret there is nowhere for the sisters to hide, except across the water to the walled ghost city, Londinium. Here Blue and Isla find sanctuary in an underworld community of squatters, emigrants, travellers and looters, led by the mysterious Crowther, living in an abandoned brothel and bathhouse. But trouble pursues them even into the haunted city.

Dark Earth takes us back to the very founding of Britain to explore the experience of women trying to find kin in a world ruled by blood ties, feuds and men in quest of a nation.

‘Superb … radically new and beautiful’ Observer

‘Thrilling’ Alice Albinia, author of Cwen

‘Pulses with the energy of a brave new world, a world as beautiful as it is dangerous, where a belief in myth and magic can save your life’ Katherine J. Chen, author of Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Critics Review

  • ‘Superb … This is a book that seeks to do for British myth what Natalie Haynes and Madeline Miller have done so brilliantly for classical literature: uncovering stories of feminine power that have been occluded by the male hand of historyObserver

    Gripping … puts a female perspective right at the centre of a time period usually dominated by men’s stories’ Independent

    Female defiance blazes through as Stott’s women reclaim this brutal period…this novel will make you appreciative of the revelatory historical treasures beneath our feet’ Telegraph

    An eloquent and heartachingly poignant story of sisterhood that echoes across the centuries. Evocative and richly mythic, Dark Earth pays homage to the quiet triumph of women working together to build a better world. A truly beautiful book’ Lucy Holland, author of Sistersong

    ‘A thrilling exploration of human kindness, ingenuity and cruelty, told through a tale of ancient London at one of its iconic points of destruction and rebirth’ Alice Albinia, author of Cwen

    ‘A magical and evocative bookDark Earth delights, transports, chills and charms’ Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

    ‘An ancient tapestry of legend brilliantly rewoven: hope, courage, men’s violence and women’s magic in an age of ruins and new beginnings’ Francis Spufford, author of Light Perpetual

    Skilfully imagines a past world in which women must use everything they have – kinship, secrets, spells and above all the power of stories – to survive the blood feuds and land grabs of national-building tyrants’ Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory

    ‘This novel pulses with the energy of a brave new world, a world as beautiful as it is dangerous, where a belief in myth and magic can save your life’ Katherine J. Chen, author of Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc

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