Skip to Main Content

The Wicked

A Novel

The mesmerizing and highly anticipated sequel to Something Red transports readers to the harsh and enchanting world of thirteenth-century England, where a group of unlikely heroes battles an ancient evil.

A thrilling and intoxicating journey to a land of legend, where nothing is quite as it seems. . . .

Something evil has come to reside in a castle by the chill waters of the North Sea: men disappear and are found as horribly wizened corpses, knights ride out and return under an enchantment that dulls their minds. Both the townspeople and the court under Sir Odinell’s protection live in fear, terrorized by forces beyond human understanding. But rumors of a wise woman blessed with mysterious powers also swirl about the land. The call goes forth, and so it comes to be that young apprentice Hob and his adopted family—exiled Irish queen Molly, her granddaughter Nemain, and warrior Jack Brown—are pitted against a malevolent nobleman and his beautiful, wicked wife.

Richly set in the inns, courts, and countryside of thirteenth-century northwest England, The Wicked is a darkly spun masterpiece that will leave fans of epic fantasy thirsty for more.

Photograph by Kelly Merchant

Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet, whose work has appeared in numerous poetry journals, and the author of four previous books, including Something Red and Iron Rose, a collection of poems inspired by New York City. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife Theresa and Yorkshire terrier Tristan.

“Rich in historical detail, this suspenseful coming-of-age fantasy grabs the reader with the facts of life in medieval England and the magic spells woven into its landscape.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A hauntingly affecting historical novel with a touch of magic.”

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This darkly atmospheric debut novel is well worth its measured plot-building for its horrific, unexpected ending.”

– Library Journal (starred review)

“Debut novelist Douglas Nicholas goes for the throat with Something Red. Rich in history, ankle deep in blood, and packed with brilliant writing and whip-smart plotting.”

– Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Assassin’s Code and Flesh & Bone

“Not for the faint of heart, this pulse pounding page-turner grabs you from the start and never lets you go. A wickedly clever and evocative combination of history, horror, mystery, and magic.”—Booklist

“I love the writing, the vividness and poetic feel, maybe the sheer 'Irishness' of it. Beautifully observed moments abound in this: a waterfall, a snow-filled forest, a mountainscape. The sense of place is overwhelming; every stone, every flower pops out at you.”—Cecelia Holland, New York Times bestselling author of The King's Witch

“I loved Something Red. Douglas Nicholas conjures up the distant thirteenth century with prose as magical as that practiced by his sorceress-queen. This is a stunning debut novel of lyrical power and suspenseful drama. The hair-raising finale will keep you reading far into the night.”—Carol Goodman, national bestselling author of The Lake of Dead Languages

“Ably conjuring the beauties and drawbacks of the past, and with an engaging and unusual cast-list, Something Red is a thoroughbred novel of nightmare terror, ruled by a force of sheer evil that seems, and may well prove, unstoppable.”—Tanith Lee, award-winning author of The Silver Metal Lover

“The most stunning debut novel I have ever read. The language is beautiful and descriptive; the novel is an incredible sensory experience for the reader.”

– Examiner.com

Relax. Master storyteller Douglas Nicholas is about to transport you to far-away places, show you far-off times; but hold on tight: while the cresting rhythm of his cadenced prose mounts, your throbbing pulse—that same blood clock his characters tell time by—will pound unstoppably, as identical horror howls fatally outside, smiles beguilingly within, and your skin senses stone sweat behind the castle's painted plaster walls, beneath midwinter-deep drifts of snow. When I say Something Red is a sensation, I mean precisely that: this book's sensational! ”—Ronald Christ, author of Bonevardi: Constructing Magic

“As a reader I was so enthralled with the tale, it was like leaving reality and stepping into a wondrous and mysterious time with so much magic in it . . .You will not be disappointed.”—Great Minds Think Aloud

This is a beautifully written work, with evocative prose which captures the essence of traveling in winter in Middle Ages England.”—Snarky Writer

"Written with great skill, this atmospheric, yet gritty, story will remain with you, and it is a wonderful addition to the long line of stories devoted to the magic of fairy tales.”—Book Hog

Something Red absolutely blew me away. This is one of the best debuts I've read in years and the story itself still haunts my dreams. It was all the best elements of Irish folklore, historical fiction, and a very frightening mystery at its cores.”—Chaotic Compendiums

“Douglas Nicholas can artfully narrate a story. I was engaged from beginning to end.”—Agenda Magazine

“The poetic nature of the language, the increasing of the novel’s atmospheric spook and the members of the traveling family made Something Red a winner.”

– MindingSpot

“Douglas Nicholas has written a gut-wrenching, harrowing novel in Something Red; however, he’s also written a touching, realistic story about what made a family, love, and life during a 13th century English winter . . . Nicholas’ storytelling painted this novel with historic realism that made it pop right off the page. . . If you like a non-stop thrilling roller coaster ride, hop on board with Something Red!”

– Popcorn Reads

“Nicholas's beautiful prose, his detailed portrayal of life in medieval England, interesting characters, and underlying supernatural themes make this book a real gem.”

– BookBrowse

“Nicholas handles characterization, setting and atmosphere deftly and expertly . . . Something Red is an excellent debut from a gifted author.”

– Shelf Awareness

“Memorable . . . Legendary.”

– Pate Books

“I was captivated by the writing and the story. The story includes so much of what one envisions what it must have been like to live at this time, castles,knights, monks, and pilgrims.”

– Fiction Addict

“Nicholas utilizes an economy of description that pulls and teases the reader into the world, and allows the reader to dance along on the text. It is a delightful thing to find a tale that can create that surge of adrenaline, that thump of your pulse in your temples, and Nicholas delivers.”

– Kansas City Public Library Blog

“Stunning . . . five out of five stars.”

– Lone Bear Images Prose

“Stunning . . . Douglas Nicholas . . . is a writer of great promise. Not only can he spin a great yarn, but his prose is gorgeous.”

– Prose

“With its smoky campfires, greased cart-axles and bees-waxed bowstrings,Something Red grounds us in the high middle ages so credibly that we are willing to believe in whatever monsters Douglas Nicholas asks us to.”

– Christopher Buehlman, author of Between Two Fires

“Like the best of literature, it's all action.”

– Woodstock Times

“Partmystery, part history, all spooky…Read this with a well-oiled sword at hand.”

– Christopher Buehlman, author of Between Two Fires

"An almost Dickensian level of detail transportsreaders to medieval England in poet Nicholas's gorgeously written novel."

– Library Journal

"Marvelously descriptive...like a more profound Harry Potter for adults."

– Kirkus

“The Wicked is the rare sequel that surpasses its predecessor.”

– Geek Library

"Superb storytelling."

– SFGate.com

More books from this author: Douglas Nicholas