Awakening by William Horwood

(9.2/10) This book's narrative is a thing of rare beauty.

Book of the Year 2011 (see all)

Awakening is the second book in William Horwood's Hyddenworld Quartet, first published August 5, 2011 by Macmillan.

A series of extraordinary events mark the beginning of summer: earth tremors ravage the Hyddenworld; Jack and Katherine have a child, Judith; and a mysterious gem is found near Brum. That same night, after decades of sleep, the Emperor of the Hyddenworld awakens…

Jack, born of the Hyddenworld, knows that he has a foot in each world but doesn’t wholly belong to either. Is he human, or hydden? Judith too is a child of two worlds, with her human mother and hydden father. She knows who she is supposed to be - the Shield Maiden, bearer of the gems and helper of humankind - but somehow this destiny seems too much to accept.

The discovered gem puts Brum firmly in the path of the Empire - Jack must travel back to the Hyddenworld. He knows that the four gems need to be reunited soon and that the Shield Maiden must be ready to wield them.

If Judith does not embark on her own great journey soon, or the gems can’t be found, then both the hydden world and the human will be threatened with extinction.

When Hyddenworld: Spring - the first book in the Hyddenworld series - was released in February 2010 it was met with a largely positive response. Most loved it, many liked it, some thought it was OK but it should also be mentioned that there was a small handful that were left rather underwhelmed by William Horwood's first fantasy release in sixteen years. For those who fell under the charm of the first book (of whom this reviewer is one) I am delighted to say that the second book is even better. With the groundwork for the story having already been lain, and the characters now having life of their very own, the reader can now simply sit back and allow Horwood's elegant writing to wash over them. This book's narrative is a thing of rare beauty which allows the author's obvious love for his work to transmit over to and into the reader.

The reading experience is once again an uplifting one despite the darkness that lies within many of the book's themes. The events from the first book are picked up and expanded upon using the same style as its predecessor - short chapters and changing perspectives at first, before the threads converge within considerably longer chapters - and a fascinating, moving and exciting tale of friendship, loyalty, domination, ecological disaster and war is the result. Horwood's writing flows beautifully and the detailed research (including a course in Old English) adds that all important layer that helps to create a believable mythology.

If you loved, liked, or even just thought the first book was OK then I would strongly recommend Awakening as it is, in my opinion, an even more enjoyable read than Hyddenworld:Spring. This is a wonderful series that should get better and better with each book's release. I cannot recommend it highly enough.


If you are enjoying the Hyddenworld books and have yet to read William Horwood's Duncton Chronicles then you simply must give them a read. His fictional memoirs, The Boy With No Shoes, also comes highly recommended. Horwood is also the author of the Wolves of Time series. He lives and works in Oxford.

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All reviews for William Horwood's Hyddenworld series


Hyddenworld: Book 1 written by William Horwood

It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core o [...]

Published: 2010

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews



Hyddenworld: Book 2 written by William Horwood

A series of extraordinary events mark the beginning of summer: earth tremors ravage the Hyddenworld; Jack and Katherine have a child, Judith; and a mysterious gem is found [...]

Published: 2011

Our rating: 9.2 | positive reader reviews



Hyddenworld: Book 3 written by William Horwood

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 [...]

Published: 2012

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews



Hyddenworld: Book 4 written by William Horwood

Storms rage as the worst winter in living memory ravages the human and Hydden worlds. The prophesied End of Days is here and the universe is dying, yet only a few are even [...]

Published: 2013

Our rating: 9.2 | positive reader reviews


More William Horwood reviews


by William Horwood

Unites Arthur, a little boy abandoned many years ago in a grim hospital in northern England, with Esther, a radiantly intelligent young girl who is suffering from cerebral [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1987

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.6 | 4 positive reader reviews


Duncton Wood

by William Horwood

The moles of Duncton Wood live in the shadow of Mandrake, a cruel tyrant corrupted by absolute power. A solitary young mole, Bracken, is thrown into leading the fight to fr [...]

Series: The Duncton Chronicles: Book 1
Published: 1980

Score: 122

Our rating: 9.6 | 23 positive reader reviews


Duncton Quest

by William Horwood

When Tryfan, son of Bracken and Rebecca, returns to the sacred Burrows of Uffington, it is to find dreadful signs of death and destruction. For out of the chilly North have [...]

Series: The Duncton Chronicles: Book 2
Published: 1989

Score: 96

Our rating: 9.4 | 2 positive reader reviews


Duncton Found

by William Horwood

Under the ruthless leadership of Henbane of Whern, the grikes have taken over moledom. Soon their ascendancy is to be consolidated by Lucerne, her son by Tryfan, and the la [...]

Series: The Duncton Chronicles: Book 3
Published: 1989

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.3 | 0 positive reader reviews


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