The Short Knife (Paperback)
  • The Short Knife (Paperback)

The Short Knife (Paperback)

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Paperback 400 Pages
Published: 04/03/2021
  • 10+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

Set as the Roman occupation of Britain gives way to the fear and uncertainty of the Dark Ages, Caldecott’s atmospheric historical novel follows in the formidable footsteps of Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth series. Featuring a strong female protagonist and steeped in the mysticism and tribalism of early Britain, The Short Knife pulsates with intelligence and adventure.

Longlisted for the The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021

It is the year 454AD. The Roman Empire has withdrawn from Britain, throwing it into the chaos of the Dark Ages. Mai has been kept safe by her father and her sister, Haf. But when Saxon warriors arrive at their farm, the family is forced to flee to the hills where British warlords lie in wait.

Can Mai survive in a dangerous world where speaking her mother tongue might be deadly, and where even the people she loves the most can't be trusted?

Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
ISBN: 9781783449781
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 318 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 24 mm


"A distinctive and engrossing tale" - David Almond

"It is full of thrills and kills … while not scrimping on plot and character. Caldecott writes with a breezy lyricism … The story of a divided Britain and the girls' mission to rebuild their family and survive in a country they barely recognise feels relevant and important" - Alex O'Connell, The Times

"Bright and real as the midsummer sunlight, and as powerfully drawn as a sharp, short knife" - Hilary McKay

"I just loved The Short Knife. Beautifully written, lyrical and powerful – it’s a fascinating insight into dark and desperate times which I found utterly absorbing. Grim and gritty but ultimately uplifting – it’s a beautiful tribute to the courage and ingenuity of sisters" - Tanya Landman

"Set in the author’s native Wales during the dark days of the fifth century, Elen Caldecott’s The Short Knife is an energetic, edge-of-your-seat page-turner with present-day resonance ... The cinematic scene-setting, first person narrative, and succinct, magnetically lyrical style make for a thrilling experience that will hook the most reluctant of readers" - Lovereading

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“Slow but Intense”

Focusing on the time between the Romans and the Saxons in Britain, The Short Knife is a historical fiction that feels like it has a hint of fantasy purely because of the unknown magic of the time period.

The plot was... More

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