This is the story of Norse Gods, legends, magic and humans trying to deal with a time of great change. Astrid is the daughter of the Danish king and whilst riding out one day she is attacked by wolves. Luckily she is saved by a young poet Leif, who is on the way to her father’s court. He has a vision in which he warns of dark dangers that are threatening the kingdom. Can Leif and Astrid stop the danger or will the Danes be overwhelmed by the unknown threat and what is the importance of the three standing stones, called the yelling stones, which dominate the area around the palace.
This is a strong story which is absolutely steeped in Norse mythology. The characters are very much of their time and have a firm belief in the magic that surrounds them. However, this is also a time of great change across northern Europe as Christianity moves across the lands. What does stand out with this book are the great similarities with the modern world, where several religions have groups who believe in an aggressive form of conversion. This book would make an excellent starting point for a discussion or for research because it combines, action, strong characters and a plot that is complex, yet in some ways is simply the clash of two opposing belief systems.
It is very much a book that grows on you and which repays the effort of reading. Norse mythology has seen a resurgence of interest from authors over the last few years, but this has a feel of reality and darkness that is often missing from other interpretations. This will be a great read for the KS2 pupils it is intended for.