Arctic Shadow

Written by Joanne Sundell
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1909, the All Alaska Sweepstakes dog race has ended in defeat for 14-year- old Anya, a Siberian girl from Chukchi, who arrived in Alaska after stowing away aboard ship. Her young Siberian huskies are defeated, and lead dog Zellie dies mysteriously before the finish. Rune Johansson, a 16-year-old seaman of Viking lineage, now tries to help Anya against an unknown force, knowing that the Viking gods and the gods of Chukchi protect them and their dogs.

Meanwhile, an imprisoned golem is able to call on the dark spirits to go after Anya and her dogs. He wishes for the annihilation of the Chukchi, their breeders and their dogs. Anya and Rune realize they must fight these dark spirits led by Raven, who is subject to the will of the golem.

This novel is Book Two in the Watch Eyes trilogy. The author has spun a tale of adventure in Alaska in the early 20th century, together with fantasy regarding the ancient religions of the Vikings and the Siberian Chukchi. The first book in this trilogy brought Anya, along with her Siberian huskies, to Alaska, entering the All Alaska Sweepstakes. Rune, who becomes a love interest to Anya, had transported Anya and her dogs from Siberia.

This is an absorbing mix of fantasy and history. The author blends together those two extremes very well. Writing with rich historical detail related to the peoples of Alaska, the author paints a broad picture of life and times during this tumultuous period in history, and molds the characters through exciting scenes, with page-turning chapters that kept this reader engaged until the end. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and highly recommended.