‘Riddle of the Runes,’ by Janina Ramirez, illustrated by David Wyatt.

I’ve just finished this epic Viking adventure from notes historian and author Janina Ramirez, and it was brilliant.

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Alva has the heart of a shield maiden and wants to follow in the footsteps of her father who has gone a-Viking over the sea.  She’s desperate to be allowed to help her uncle, Magnus, solve mysteries in their village but despite her eye for clues, the rest of her tribe are not very welcoming.

Late one night, whilst the village is sleeping, two concerned karls come to Alva’s hut to summon Magnus to the hall to talk to Jarl Eric. Naturally, Alva follows and overhears a tale of a babbling English monk claiming that a mysterious bone casket etched with runes would lead them all to untold riches. Thus begins the adventure of Alva’s life, where her nerve and detective skills will be sorely tested.

A truly thrilling adventure packed full of historical fact, danger and wild free-spiritedness.  I loved that Alva was prepared to flout convention and do what she believed was right.  But she also had a fierce love for her family and community. And family is what’s really at the heart of this story.

Book Boy also commented on the black and white illustrations by David Wyatt which he studied in detail.  He also enjoyed trying to decipher the runes which featured at the start of each chapter.

Written by Viking expert Janina Ramirez, and the first title in a new series of books, fans of murder and mystery will clamour for more after reading the first gripping instalment.

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Oxford Children’s Books for sending me this title to review*

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