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The Siege Winter: A Novel Audiobook, by Ariana Franklin Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ariana Franklin, Samantha Norman Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9780062373632
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A powerful historical novel by the late Ariana Franklin and her daughter Samantha Norman, The Siege Winter is a tour de force mystery and murder, adventure and intrigue, a battle for a crown, told by two courageous young women whose fates are intertwined in twelfth century England’s devastating civil war.

1141. England is engulfed in war as King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda, vie for the crown. In this dangerous world, not even Emma, an eleven-year-old peasant, is safe. A depraved monk obsessed with redheads kidnaps the ginger-haired girl from her village and leaves her for dead. When an archer for hire named Gwyl finds her, she has no memory of her previous life. Unable to abandon her, Gwyl takes the girl with him, dressing her as a boy, giving her a new name—Penda—and teaching her to use a bow. But Gwyn knows that the man who hurt Penda roams free, and that a scrap of evidence she possesses could be very valuable.

Gwyl and Penda make their way to Kenilworth, a small but strategically important fortress that belongs to fifteen-year-old Maud. Newly wedded to a boorish and much older husband after her father’s death, the fierce and determined young chatelaine tempts fate and Stephen’s murderous wrath when she gives shelter to the empress.

Aided by a garrison of mercenaries, including Gwyl and his odd red-headed apprentice, Maud will stave off Stephen’s siege for a long, brutal winter that will bring a host of visitors to Kenilworth—kings, soldiers . . . and a sinister monk with deadly business to finish.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A rousing but unsparingly harsh account of medieval life as experienced by ordinary people.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Upon her mother’s death, Norman took up the mantle to complete this novel. Readers will note Franklin’s hand in the storytelling and see the freshness Norman brings to the tale, filled with fascinating characters who drive the plot as much as the tempestuous backdrop. With its bit of intrigue, historical setting and lovely characters, readers will be captivated by this compelling tale.”

    RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

  • “Norman ably bring(s) the author’s final manuscript to fruition with aplomb…Norman and Franklin excel at showing how the war impacts everyone in this richly researched, female-driven historical mystery.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Kate Reading proves the perfect chronicler of this complex tale, endowing each character with credible voices and multilayered personalities. Reading adds immediacy and poignancy to the story…Reading delivers the heat of battle as well as characters’ personal doubts, fears, and inner monologues with such deftness and artistry that hopes, dreams, and motives are crystal clear. Wonderful listening. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Highlighted by solid characterization of historical and fictional figures alike, the authors’ research on day-to-day medieval life shines…This thoroughly captivating tale…was completed seamlessly by her journalist daughter.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A February 2015 LibraryReads Pick

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About the Author

Ariana Franklin is the pen name of British writer Diana Norman. A bestselling author and former journalist, she lives in England with her husband.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading has recorded hundreds of audiobooks across many genres, over a thirty year plus career. Audie Awards: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (mystery), Breasts (non-fiction), Bellwether (fiction), and Words of Radiance (fantasy), co-narrated with her husband, Michael Kramer. Among other awards, she has been recognized with: the ALA Booklist best of 2019 for Bowlaway (fiction), AudioFile Magazine Voice of the Century, Earphones Awards, Narrator of the Year, Best Voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Publisher’s Weekly’s Listen-Up Award. She records at her home studio, Madison Productions, Inc., in Maryland.