Scramasax: The Viking Sagas, Book Two by Kevin Crossley-Holland
|Scramasax: The Viking Sagas, Book Two by Kevin Crossley-Holland|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Vivid and beautifully-researched story of a Viking girl and her journey from Constantinople to Sicily in the eleventh century. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: August 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013
We left Solveig finally reunited with her Viking father, after a journey that took her all the way from her Scandinavian home to Miklagard (Constantinople). There, her father is in the service of Harald Hardrada, who in turn serves the Empress Zoe. Zoe's court is a dangerous place, full of spies and prisoners and instant punishment by death - for the smallest of transgressions. So Solveig needs to learn fast if she is to persuade Harald to allow her to stay with the Viking guard.
But the exotic surroundings are soon left behind and the Viking army is on the move again, sent by Zoe to pacify the Muslims on Sicily and wrest back control of the island. Hidden amongst the soldiers goes Solveig and for her, this journey will be as eventful and terrifying as the first. For she will see just what war is and just how her own people revel in it. A choice is coming for Solveig - between the traditions and beliefs of her people and what she believes is right.
Just like the first book in the series, Scramasax is beautifully researched. From the court of Miklagard, through life on board a Viking longboat, to the island of Sicily, its mountain people and Islam in the middle ages, Solveig's journey is described in vivid detail. The story as a whole has an epic feel, but it's the small details that really make it. What did people eat? What did they wear? What did their weapons look like? How were horses transported across the sea? These things give a real understanding of life at the time and, somehow, Crossley-Holland blends them seamlessly with his depiction of the thoughtful, spiritual, introspective Solveig.
The whole makes for another marvellous historical read, both illuminating and exciting. As ever, an offering from Kevin Crossley-Holland comes highly recommended by Bookbag.
Hush by Donna Jo Napoli isn't the world's greatest book, but it is fun to read and it also talks about the Viking presence in Russia. Jackie French's Slave Girl is another adventure involving a strong female lead and Vikings. Bloodline Rising by Katy Moran is about Cai, cunning thief in all Constantinople.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Scramasax: The Viking Sagas, Book Two by Kevin Crossley-Holland at Amazon.com.
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