Harvest by William Horwood

Rating 9.0/10
This series isn't perfect but it is very, very good

Winter has been unleashed upon the Hyddenworld by an angry Earth. And Judith, now the Earth’s unwilling ally and shield maiden, is powerless to intervene. Then while both human and Hydden lands wither, humans find their way into this secret realm – to destroy all that winter’s storms haven’t undone.

The Hydden city of Brum now faces its darkest days; joining its greatest enemy to combat invaders. But ultimately, survival depends on its champions – Jack, Katherine and scrivener Bedwyn Stort. If they can locate a last gem, burning with fire and magic, devastation may be averted. But if the jewel fails to reach Juliet before winter’s end, human and Hyddenkind will pay the price.

Yet his quest will cost Stort dearly. It requires him to finally let Juliet go; the epic love that’s sustained him. There is a solution, but is this buried too deep, lost beneath ice and snow?

It is August, time of the first harvest, traditional time of plenty. But at the farthest reaches of the Hyddenworld, in sea-bound Englalond, disaster looms. A blight in the land is growing, marked by quakes and increasingly unnatural blizzards. Judith is tasked with healing the land, but this burden is almost unbearable. Lonely and lovelorn, she threatens to reap a terrible harvest of her own. Yet a trio of hydden travellers hold out hope – for both the land and the war threatening the hydden people. For Jack and Katherine, Judith’s parents, the shadow of the hydden Empire’s army looms large. They must muster allies or it will mean disaster for the city of Brum. And only Bedwyn Stort, Brum’s famed scrivener, has the courage to unravel a secret that could heal their world. The lost gem of Autumn must be found and Stort must risk death to seek it. Only his love for Judith will give him the will to endure – and bring her the gem she needs to tame the wild earth.

Harvest is the third book in the Hyddenworld tetralogy and follows on directly from the events that unfolded in the second book, Awakening. The book could easily have been called Autumn, or Fall for North American readers, as all four books are set within, and themed around, the four seasons. The series will end in the fourth and final book, Winter.

I love this series and the first and biggest compliment I can give is that this reading is my third - not many series compel me to re-read on this scale. There is even a more than fair chance that there will be a fourth, fifth, even sixth re-read before I am sated. The reason? I love the way William Horwood writes, he makes me love the country of my birth, and I simply love the stories he tells. This series isn’t perfect but it is very, very good.

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