Book review - Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland
review by Becky
It is 1036. Halfdan is a Viking mercenary who is determined to travel to Constantinople and become one of the Viking Guard serving Empress Zoe. He promises to take his daughter, but one morning Solveig wakes up to find him gone. Setting off in her own tiny boat, she is determined to make the journey from Norway to the breathtaking city. Her boat is washed up, but Solveig is undeterred. What awaits Solveig as she continues on her summer journey across the world? She finds passage with Viking traders, witnesses the immolation of a young slave girl and learns to fight. She sees the clashes between those who praise her Norse Gods and the new Christians. In this perilous and exciting world, a young girl alone could be quickly endangered or made a slave. Will Solveig live to see her father again, and if she survives, will she remain free? A glittering novel that explores friendship and betrayal, the father-daughter relationship, the clash of religions and the journey from childhood to adulthood.
Available on Amazon.com: Bracelet of Bones (The Viking Sagas)
This is a tale of a young norse teenager who is told the fantastical but true tale of how he saved Harald Siggurdson (Hardrada) from the flawed battle of his half-brother. Before long he is taken away with more of Harald supports but goes without saying goodbye to his daughter Solva. Solva takes it upon herself to escape her unlikable half-brothers and step-mother to undertake a most daring and dangerous journey across continents, rivers and seas to Miklagard (Istanbul) where she knows her father will work with Harald as the famous Varangian guard to the Empereress Zoe and her husband.
The characters come across well although Sulva seems to think very poetically and deeply for one so young and sometimes this can feel a bit annoying each time the Narrator shares more of her thoughts when she sees a scene or looks upon another character. Some of the dialogue itself feels restricted and sometimes unreal but on the whole the adventure is still gripping, the plot still has twists and turns and reveals a lot about the viking way of life, in particular from a female perspective as well as male, and I loved the ending as it adds a nice backstory to a small peice of runic graphitiy found in the Hagia Sophia. A lovely saga of the strength of family bonds and I'm looking forward to the sequel.
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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