The bishop hired her to make an embroidery. But she will kill him as soon as she gets the chance because he and his brother, William the Conqueror, have destroyed her world. Revenge. Pure and simple…until love intervenes.

'There is one award Sarah Bower will never, ever win, and that is the Bad Sex Award.' Sally Zigmond

'I want to tell you just how good this book is.  I don't want to be coy about it; I don't want to prevaricate.  I just want to say, honestly: measured on a scale of books that are good and books that are ok and books that suck, this book is mind-bogglingly good.' Eve’s Alexandria

' rich and remarkable as the embroidery it describes.' Susan Fletcher, winner of the 2004 Whitbread First Novel Award for 'Eve Green'.

'A fascinating insight into the making of the Bayeux Tapestry and the many mysteries stitched into this famous embroidery.' Dr. Carola M. Hicks, author of The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece



It never seems to me appropriate to add a bibliography to a work of fiction, given the liberties novelists are wont to take with facts. If, however, reading The Needle in the Blood has left you with a thirst for more knowledge about the work and the period, I am absolutely delighted and would recommend the following which were useful to me in my research.

Historical Background

Emily Albu, The Normans in Their Histories, (Boydell 2001)

Frank Barlow, The Godwins, (Longman 2002)

Robert Bartlett, England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075 to 1225, (Oxford University Press 2000)

David Bates, The Character and Career of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, Speculum, vol 50, issue 1 (January 1975) pp1-20

Ed. Helen V. Clover and Margaret T. Gibson, Letters of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, (Oxford University Press 1979)

Elizabeth Van Houts, Memory and Gender in Medieval Europe 900 to 1200, (Macmillan 1999)

Henrietta Leyser, Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450 to 1500, (Phoenix 1996)

Simon Schama, A History of Britain: At The Edge of the World 3000BC to AD1603 (BBC 2000)

Frank Stenton, Anglo Saxon England, 3rd edition, (Oxford University Press 1971)

Orderic Vitalis, trans. By Marjorie Chibnall, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, vol II, book IV (Oxford Medieval Texts 2002)

Wace, trans. Glynn Burgess, Roman de Rou: The History of the Norman People, (Boydell 2004)

Margaret Wade Lebarge, Women in Medieval Life, (Penguin Classic History)

The Tapestry

David J. Bernstein, The Mystery of the Bayeux Tapestry, (Weidenfield and Nicolson 1986)

Ed. Richard Gameson, The Study of the Bayeux Tapestry, (Boydell 1997)

Wolfgang Grape, The Bayeux Tapestry, (Prestel Verlag 1997)


Two books which were published too late to be of use to me in my research, but which I would recommend are:

Andrew Bridgeford, 1066: The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry, (4th Estate 2004)

Carola Hicks, The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Materpiece, (Chatto and Windus 2006)

General Reading

Rozsika Parker, The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine, (The Women’s Press 1984)

Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairytales and their Tellers, (Vintage 1994)