From School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Toki's and Freydis's lives are forever changed by a raid by Sulke, their father's enemy, while he is away. Freydis, 16, is severely injured, and 18-year-old Toki is taken prisoner. When their father, Ohthere, returns and finds his village destroyed and his son missing, he sets sail to find him and seek revenge. Using descriptive language, the author paints a vivid picture of the ninth-century Norwegian setting and the characters, providing ample images for readers' imaginations. Ohthere's love for his son and his disdain for his daughter are obvious. In fact, he is upset that Freydis survived the attack while her brother was captured. He reluctantly gives Freydis a slave, Enno, for protection, and the two develop a close bond and respect for one another. In his quest for revenge, Ohthere finds his son but encounters more problems from Sulke. Freydis, Enno, and Toki grow stronger during their ordeal, and Enno proves himself to be a true friend and warrior. Freydis learns that she is not worthless while Toki finds the courage to speak his mind. Children may have some difficulty with the unfamiliar terminology, but will find this book a satisfying read.-Lana Miles, Jackson Elementary School, Rosenberg, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A raid on a Viking village leaves 16-year-old Freydis seriously injured and her older brother Toki taken prisoner by the attacking pirates. When their father returns to what is left of the village, he gives Freydis an African slave, who is called Blue Man for his blue-black skin. Freydis and Blue Man are left with a neighboring tribe while her father pursues the pirates. Toki manages to escape, but he, Freydis, and Blue Man are set on a collision course with the pirate king. This engaging historical tale features plenty of rousing adventure and some hard truths about love—both familial and romantic. There are also passages that encourage readers to be tolerant of cultures other than their own. Golding includes a brief author’s note that describes the historical facts at the root of the story and a short glossary that helps with the characters’ references to Norse mythology. This addition to the growing number of Norse and Viking tales will be enjoyed by fans of Judson Roberts’ Strongbow Saga or Tim Severin’s Odinn’s Child (2006). Grades 7-10. --Cindy Welch