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The Hengist books are about a fictitious race of people, descended from Hengest and Horsa: Anglo Saxon settlers who used a White Horse as their banner. They live in southern England (Wessex) in a world that coexists with our present day in an alternative reality. They know very little about us and we know nothing about them. Whereas our world is very much consumer and technology driven, theirs has no electricity and is based on living in harmony with each other and the earth’s resources.

The people are split into clans:
  • Warriors (soldiers and gamekeepers)
  • Magi (healers and scholars)
  • Outils (craftsmen and farmers)
  • Renegates (breakaway rebels, villainised by the rest)

Each book is based on a boy from a different clan, following his final year as a junior, before he graduates to become a senior on the Beltane (May Day) after his 16th birthday. This is similar to medieval times, where a boy trains as a page for seven years before training to be a squire. The protagonists have special “gifts” - not quite super powers, but so close that you wouldn’t notice the difference. The main hero Archer (a Warrior) crops up in every book one way or another and is pretty hot with a bow and arrow: Think Robin Hood crossed with William Thatcher (A Knight’s Tale) and you’re half way there.

They are not historical novels, although the characters do wear tunics and breeches and spend a good part of their days learning to joust and fight with sword & buckler. Although some scenes start off in the lehren (school), they rarely stay there for more than a page or two before you are caught up in thrilling action. It’s not a magic school, although they do celebrate several religious festivals that are firmly grounded in Pagan lore and Wiccan practices.

Watch the author talking about the books by clicking on the pix below.

If you've come here looking for 13, the answer is cards in a suit.