The Needle in the Blood

The Needle in the Blood

Book - 2012
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His lust for power gave him everything. But it might cost him the love of his life.

The Bishop hired her for a simple job: embroider a tapestry. It is an enormous work, a cloth trophy of the conquest of England. But her skill with a needle and thread is legendary. It would be uncomplicated.

She plans to kill him as soon as she gets the chance. He and his brother, William the Conqueror, murdered her King and destroyed her world. Revenge, pure and clean. It would be simple.

But neither planned to fall desperately in love. As the two become hopelessly entangled, friends become enemies, enemies become lovers, and nothing in life--or the tapestry--is what it seems. An unlikely love story born of passion and intensity, crafted by critically acclaimed historical novelist Sarah Bower, The Needle in the Blood is a "story of love, war, and the tangled truth of England's birth."

Praise for Sarah Bower's Sins of the House of Borgia

"Sizzling."-- USA Today

"The sheer grandeur of the papal and Ferrara courts and the spectacle of the Borgia and Ferrara siblings' rivalries and revenges form a glittering take on one of the most notorious families of the Italian Renaissance."-- Publisher's Weekly

"Bower brilliantly merges historywith politics and convincing characters to draw readers into a lush and colorful tapestry of Renaissance life...This powerful piece of fiction ranks with some of the finest of the genre."-- RT Book Reviews

Publisher: Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks Landmark, c2012.
ISBN: 9781402265914
Characteristics: 530 pages


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Cdnbookworm Nov 08, 2013

I picked up this book from the sale table at the bookstore because of the tag line "A powerful tale of sex, lies, and embroidery." I mean, how could I resist!
This is a historical romance set in the late 11th century beginning with the invasion of England by William of Normandy in 1066. Glytha is a young woman, originally from Wales, widowed and then a lay sisters in a nunnery, most recently lady in waiting to King Harold's mistress Edith Swan Neck.
When William's brother Odo takes it in his head to commission an embroidery chronicling the conquest, he gets his sister Agatha, now Sister Jean-Baptiste, to manage the project. One of her first tasks is finding embroiderers of sufficient skill to do the project and this search leads her to Glytha. Glytha has been forced to work she never would have envisioned herself doing, merely to survive, but she hesitates at working for the Normans until she discovers that it is Odo's project. Since she knows Odo is the king's brother and she knows he was present at Harold's death, she thinks she might have a chance of revenge if she joins the project.
However neither Odo nor Glytha could have predicted the sparks that fly between them, and how this attraction will affect both their lives. The two gradually reveal themselves and their histories to each other, growing in trust.
There is lots of sex and lies and the tag line suggests, and a fair bit of embroidery too. The embroidery in question here is what is now known as the Bayeux Tapestry. The interpretations of the tapestry and its imagery are both Bower's invention and drawn from historical research. While some of the characters, like William, Odo, and the Lanfranc are real historical figures, many are fictional. This is a tale of intrigue and politics, love and jealousy and an entertaining read.

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