Book review - Riddle of the Runes
Review by Becky
Alva rushes through the trees in the dead of night with her sniffer wolf, Fen. Being out alone when there's a kidnapper on the loose is reckless, but if she ever wants to be an investigator like her Uncle Magnus, she'll need to be first to the crime scene. But what Alva discovers raises more questions than it answers, drawing her into a dangerous search for truth, and for treasure...
Available on Amazon.com: Riddle of the Runes
Now I have read a LOT of Viking historical fiction. Some of it aimed at children but the majority for teenagers and adults.
Most such books involve lone warriors or longship crews, exploring new lands, battles and wars, slaves and treasure hoards. A few and only a few feature women or girls.
This story features 2... A daughter and mother.
This story involves a pair of strangers from a foreign land, a talking raven, a pet wolf and a set of runes that only certain people can read the meaning behind. Also kidnapping, a small fight, religious sacrifices, fear, family history and memories.
It is a brilliant unique down to earth insight into the Viking world the way the Vikings saw themselves without the tint of Christianity or Anglo-Saxon heritage.
It shows the pride they had for themselves in appearance, possessions, wealth, status, success in exploration and raiding and trading and craftsmanship...
It has a real sense of danger, drama, fear but also of bravery, love, trust and gutsyness.
The illustrations that accompany the story are superb and really bring the whole adventure to life and a lot of the objects, including the key piece of the rune puzzle are in fact real life artefacts found during excavations and can be seen in various local or national museums.
It is an excellent book for children (age 10+) especially if parents read it to them for some scenes among the family are great at helping children understand the protectiveness of parents but equally help parents understand the children's need to do things, within reason, for themselves.
I think the theme of family is what really won the book a place on my favourites shelf. Many Vikingy stories involve family usually revolving around revenge or the desire to improve a families reputation and often through the means of earning fame and glory away from home. This book really shines a light on the family of those who go a-Viking and most significantly that there is adventure to be had without crossing the seas.
I adored every chapter and illustration and Alva is now my favourite Viking girl and I am delighted that we will get to follow at least two more of her adventures in new books.
A stellar debut from my favourite TV historian. Bravo Janina Bravo!
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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