In this first book of the Strongbow Saga, fifteen-year-old Halfdan has been a slave in his father’s household until his Irish mother makes a tragic bargain for his freedom. Already an expert bowman, his half-brother steps in to train him as a warrior.
So soon after his life is turned upside down, Halfdan must face both the complications of his family’s past and a mortal enemy who turns him from newly-minted heir to hunted prey, thanks to a stepmother (who could take her place nicely beside Snow White’s) and her son, Toke, a berserk (yes, exactly what that sounds like).
Ninth-century Viking history comes alive with unforgettable characters and a story teeming with adventure, heart and even poetry in the telling. Halfdan’s strength as a protagonist lies in his complexity – he’s wise enough to respect and communicate with animals and the natural world, tender enough to love his mother with his whole heart, and young enough to make mistakes based on his inexperience. He’s got conflict galore both within and without. I look forward to the next adventure in the Strongbow Saga. Highly recommended. Ages 12 and up.