Kerven, author of more than 50 children’s books, has set up an author-led publishing team to produce her own seven-part historical fiction series, ‘The Grim Gruesome Stories’. This first title, The Cursed Sword, sees pig-farm hand boy, Bjarni, needing to find a sword in order to join a pirate ship and win some treasure. Bjarni wants to prove his worth to his employer, Thorgill, who is the father of Astrid, the girl Bjarni wishes to marry in four years’ time, when they both turn 16. Astrid’s mysterious long-lost uncle appears out of the blue and offers to lend Bjarni a sword; but the strange runes carved on it are a dangerous curse. The moment Bjarni uses it, both he and Astrid are trapped. Bjarni is lured into taking the sword, which enables him to fight anyone who cares to take him on. Bjarni sees it as his chance for freedom but nothing could be further from the truth, as a terrifying adventure unfolds, leading Bjarni and Astrid both into the clutches of the evil Grim Gruesome! Grim is a truly villainous character – a huge, hooded and cloaked child-hater. However, being burnt seemingly to death is not the end of Grim Gruesome as we learn he mysteriously and conveniently survives to fight another day.
This is a very accessible historical novel, for young readers. There are colourful curses, sword-fights, pirates, pig dung and treasure – and a further six titles to look forward to.