Cover image for Bloodline
Moran, Katy (Katy Jane)
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2009.

Physical Description:
297 pages, 13 unnumbered pages : map ; 22 cm
While traveling through early seventh-century Britain trying to stop an impending war, Essa, who bears the blood of native British tribes and of the invading Anglish, makes discoveries that divide his loyalties.
Reading Level:
830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 5.7 12.0 128799.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.4 19 Quiz: 46309.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Warring kingdoms, bloody feuds, and a boy's battle for survival. Step back into the Dark Ages with this riveting epic adventure.

In the wilds of Dark Age Britain, a bard abandons his son, Essa, in a village trapped between two feuding kingdoms. As the once-nomadic boy grows rooted in the life of the Wolf Folk, forging allegiances and young love, King Penda of Mercia threatens to attack, thrusting Essa into the violent and cunning world of the tribal rulers. Joined by unlikely friends, unsure of whom to trust -- or even of who he is -- Essa sets off on a dangerous journey, using his newfound intuitive gifts to guide them as a deadly battle brews. Will his desperate efforts to save his loved ones bring him closer to understanding why his father has never returned? Fast-paced and full of intrigue, this debut novel transports readers to a time of blood and steel, when peace was fleeting and won only at a cost.

Author Notes

Katy Moran began writing BLOODLINE while she was still in college. A former children's book editor, she now spends her days writing in her garden shed in London.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The sword-and-shield pageantry found in Tolkien's Middle-Earth and Paolini's Alagaesia gets a historically based tweak in this adventure set in Britain circa 650 CE. In a land where allegiance to lords is held above all else, Essa is a young man with no king. The son of a roving trader and secret-peddler named Cai, Essa finds himself consumed with his ancestry: he is neither fully Wolf Folk nor Wixma nor Northumbrian, treads the line between British and Anglish, and has no mother and then Cai disappears, too. Three years later, a routine reconnaissance mission mires Essa within a coming war between kingdoms. Keeping track of the various factions is a chore eased somewhat by a chart at the front of the book; Moran, nonetheless, prevails on the strength of her theme of shifting loyalties, as only fealty to his true self can pull our hero through. Essa's ability to see through the eyes of animals seems a bit tacked on, but once the climactic struggle kicks in, the result is no less than rousing.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Gr 7-10-Essa has traveled the lands of seventh-century Britain with his father, Cai, for many years without incident. In a Wolf Folk settlement, he wakes to find that his father has left without any explanation. Feeling angry and alone, he slowly comes to appreciate the people of the village, but never forgets his father's betrayal. Eventually Essa becomes sworn to a king and is sent out on a small errand. He gets himself deeper and deeper into tribal disputes and finds that the errand has become a full-blown adventure across kingdoms, with Essa taking matters into his own hands to try to influence the outcome of a potential tribal war. Well written and deeply researched, Bloodline moves along at a steady pace with enough intrigue and mystery to keep readers turning pages. It is a wonderful story of emotional and physical discovery that reads with "you are there" immediacy. The historical details are effortlessly woven throughout as the plot develops into a complete picture of the times. A map and an outline of the characters are included. This novel would make an excellent companion to a study of the Early Middle Ages and/or British and European history.-Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Middle Anglia, eastern Britain, late summer, AD 631 HE SUN rose above the flatlands, spreading a bloody glow across the mere. Shafts of brilliance swept into the hall through a side door left ajar the previous night. A streak of pale light swung across the floorboards to touch the head of a sleeping boy with hair like a lick of fire in the dark. His name was Essa, he was nine summers old, and when he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was the red dawn waiting. Red sky in the morning, Essa thought. If Da wants to ride out today, we'll get wet. And ride out they would, he was sure. Essa sometimes wished they might stay in a place long enough for him to make friends, but they never did. He stretched out an arm, working it free of the blue blanket drawn too close around his neck and chin. The blanket had been given to them in exchange for a song only a few days before. "And not a moment too soon." Cai had held up their old rug so that Essa could see sunlight streaming through the holes. Cai had quick black eyes, like the pieces of obsidian he'd once sold to the High King in Northumbria. He was dark and light-boned like a bird. Nobody could tell what he was thinking, not even his son, who knew him better than anyone. Essa sat up, shrugging the blanket away from his shoulders. Next to him a fat man lay on his back, snoring gently. On his other side a small child was curled up next to her mother. The entire hall was filled with sleeping people. Cai preferred to sleep outside with their horse, Melyor, when the weather was warm enough, choosing the mare's company over the closeness of strangers. This village was a rich place with two grassy, hollow mounds behind the weaving hall, where big clay jars of barley and wheat were stored in the earthy coolness. They had a stable full of horses too, although Essa had noticed last night that two were old wrecks and one was lame. Maybe Cai was in the stable. He squinted in the half-light at a small bundle lying at his feet, unwound himself from the blanket, and snatched the tooled leather bag to his chest. Cai must have been very drunk last night. They had so few things that everything was guarded like a dragon's hoard, especially this. Without it they'd starve, because Cai was British and proud. He was of the Iceni, whose great queen Boudicca had almost driven the Romans back into the sea, long ago. Cai used to say that more generations had come and gone since the high days of the Iceni than Essa could count on the fingers and thumbs of both his hands, and if anyone knew, Cai did, for he was a song man and a keeper of the past. But this was an Anglish village, and Essa knew Cai would never beg a meal from these people, who knew nothing of Christ the Redeemer and sang of their grandfathers crossing the eastern water in long ships with sea serpents snarling at the prows. The night before last, Essa and Cai had been given a linen package containing dried yellow saffron and a lump of amber that had delighted Essa because it looked like the head of a dog: a rich haul. He loosened the drawstring and dug his fingers inside the bag, reassured by the smoothness of the amber in his hand. The linen packet of saffron heads was there too, rustling against his fingertips. He buckled his belt around his waist, pushed the bag inside his tunic, and ran to the door, leaping over sleeping bodies. He'd managed to get a place near the fire, and there were a lot of people between the hearth and the nearest door. The yard was quiet and peaceful in the dawn light. Opposite the hall, a row of scythes lay against the barn wall under the low, thatched roof. He ran for the stables, where the air was quiet and thick with the warm, sweet smell of horses. When he got to the stall where he'd left Melyor the night before, Cai was not there, and neither was the horse. It was always Essa's job to bed her down whenever they arrived at a new place, whether it was a clearing in a Excerpted from Bloodline by Katy Moran All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.