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For the people of Caer Cad, ‘skin’ is their totem, their greeting, their ancestors, their land.
Ailia does not have skin. Abandoned at birth, she serves the Tribequeen of her township. Ailia is not permitted to marry, excluded from tribal ceremonies and, most devastatingly, forbidden to learn. But the Mothers, the tribal ancestors, have chosen her for another path.
Lured by the beautiful and enigmatic Taliesin, Ailia embarks on an unsanctioned journey to attain the knowledge that will protect her people from the most terrifying invaders they have ever faced.
Set in Iron-Age Britain on the cusp of Roman invasion, Skin is a thrilling, full-blooded, mesmerising novel about the collision of two worlds, and a young woman torn between two men.
‘I loved the depth, sincerity and beauty of Skin. It gives a name and a shape to our capacity for yearning.’
‘Skin will appeal to lovers of historical fiction and lovers of literary fiction equally as well. It is an accomplished, absorbing and powerful debut.’
‘Myth, mystery, history and romance are artfully intertwined in Australian author Ilka Tampke’s enticing and immensely satisfying debut.‘
‘[Tampke’s] vision is clear and brought to life vividly through the strength of her singular heroine. We have not heard the last from this resonant new Australian voice.’
‘Tampke carries readers to a most remarkable time of the Iron Age…We’ve just welcomed a remarkable new voice in Australian literature, and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.’
‘Those who root for Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen will find much to love in Ailia’s personal quest, with Tampke more successfully navigating the realms of almost fantasy than Ishiguro, marking her out as an exciting talent to watch.’
‘I am in awe of Ilka’s ability to recreate a Britain of AD43. Caer Cad is alive and I felt I was there, standing by its fires from page one. I found myself continuously questioning what was real versus fiction, thinking to myself I wanted to learn more. A great book.’
‘Skin is a beautiful and brilliant book, a masterpiece.’
‘The mystical setting of Iron Age Britain is wonderful, full of magic and wonder and beauty. It’s everything I love in a historical fiction.’
‘In Skin, Tampke has taken the fragments and woven them into a convincing world.’
‘Conjuring up a wholly alien world with impressive imagination, Tampke has created a visceral tale of ritual, magic and violence.‘
‘A subtle blend of reality, fantasy, romance and action, Ilka Tampke’s first novel is a beautiful read. She has created a mystical world that’s certain to charm most readers.’
‘I loved Skin – the whole book is sufficiently grounded in real history to let the story and mysticism shine through. Ultimately the book is about love, belonging and change.’
‘The book slowly sucks you in and before you know it you’ve been completely hooked…At its core, Skin is a young girl’s coming of age story, but its resonant prose, distinct characters, thematic depth and emotional sensitivity all combine to form a tale as evocative as it is compelling. 9/10.’
‘While fantasy lovers will enjoy the mysticism and world building, and historical fiction readers will appreciate the Roman invasion story line, there are also plenty of sensual scenes between Ailia and her two lovers for romance fans.’