England, 1141. The countryside is devastated by a long civil war as the English king, Stephen, and his cousin, the Empress Matilda, battle for the crown. . . .Emma is the eleven-year-old redheaded daughter of a peasant family. When mercenaries pass through their town, they bring with them a monk with a deadly interest in young redheaded girls. Emma is left for dead in a burned-out church until Gwil, an archer, finds her by chance. Gwil takes Emma with him, dressing her as a boy to avoid attention. Emma becomes Pendaand Penda turns out to have a killer instinct with a bow and arrow.Maud is the fifteen-year-old chatelaine of Kenniford, a small but strategically important castle shes determined to protect. But when Maud provides refuge for the empress, Stephens armies lay siege to Kenniford Castle. Aided by a garrison of mercenariesincluding Gwil and his odd, redheaded apprenticethey must survive a long winter under siege. Its a brutal season that brings everyone to Kennifordincluding the sinister monk who has never stopped hunting the redheaded girl. . . .Enthralling. . . . A grand yet intimate historical adventure.Library Journal[A] thoroughly captivating tale.Kirkus Reviews
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.