Children of the Chieftan: Betrayed

Written by Michael E. Wills
Review by Janis Pegrum Smith

When Jomsviking raiders return, during the burial ritual of their chieftain, the trading village of Birka is caught unawares and all the adults, and the small children with them upon the sea, are captured. Thanks to the quick thinking of the shaman the older children and teenagers ashore hid themselves and survive the raid. Ahl and Ingir, the chief’s children take charge and organise those who remain in order to survive. When circumstances provides the means to attempt a rescue of the captives the strongest and bravest of the children set out, but unfortunately, not all of those who present themselves as friends turn out to be and the children find themselves led into a trap that it will take all their wits to escape.

An absolutely excellent novel that I could not put down. This slim volume is an superb introduction to the Viking world for eight year olds and above. With a professionally produced, attractive cover I can see this one flying off the school library bookshelves if it were stocked. The quality of the writing is marvellous, and the story so gripping that, even though I was extremely tired, I stayed up to the small hours to read it in one sitting. Having worked as an English Teacher in Sweden for thirteen years, and with a passion for Scandinavian culture and military history, Michael E Willis is well qualified to breathe life into the Viking past and bring children believable, expertly written accounts of the dark ages. I highly recommend this book, if you have an eight to twelve year old child or grandchild, buy them a copy today, they will thoroughly enjoy it. I am very pleased to see that this is the first in a planned trilogy, I eagerly look forward to reading the sequel.