The Invisible Friend: Book Three of Viking Quest

Written by Lois Walfrid Johnson
Review by Lisa Ann Verge

In this series of inspirational young adult novels, Lois Walfrid Johnson has penned an earnest but strained story of tenth century Ireland and Norway. Brianna O’Toole saves a young stranger from drowning only to realize, too late, that he’s a Viking raider.

In the third book, Bree is given as a slave to Mikkel’s mother. Bree plans to escape, but the arrival of her brother, Dev, causes new complications. Mikkel imprisons Dev, claiming him as a slave, in a dispute that can’t be resolved until the village elders meet in the spring. Over the long Norwegian winter, Dev and Mikkel grow strong in friendship and trust. Meanwhile, Bree explains Jesus to the family, by reading from a bible stolen from the monastery at Glendalough. She also indirectly heals Mikkel’s father of leprosy. These acts earn the gratitude and friendship of the Vikings. When village elders meet, the young Irish slaves are granted a conditional freedom.

In this evangelical Christian series, there’s no talk of Mass, sacraments, the Eucharist or the saints – or any aspect of early Irish Catholicism. Yet despite this, and a few anachronisms (potatoes in 10th century Ireland), these books are clearly born of the deepest of sentiment, and provide a wholesome and heartfelt alternative to more worldly young adult fiction. Ages 9-12