Bracelet of Bones – Kevin Crossley-Holland

braceletofbonesVikings!  The year is 1036.  After defeat in battle, Halfdan decides to follow his leader, Harald Sigurdsson, east to Kiev then south to the Black Sea.   He intends to join the Varangian guard, a troop of Vikings that serves the Byzantine Emperor.  He leaves behind his beloved daughter, Solveig.  Feeling little future with her stepmother, Solveig is determined to follow her father’s footsteps to the Black Sea and Miklagard (Constantinople).  Her skill in carving bones will for her passage aboard a trading ship traveling south.  Her adventure into the unfamiliar begins with danger at every turn.

Like most good historical fiction, the reader can accidentally learn a thing or two about history.  I had no idea the Vikings had a strong presence in the Byzantine Empire.  Viking traditions, religion, and slavery come into play during the treacherous journey down the Dnieper River to the Black Sea.  This is the first book in The Viking Sagas.  I always enjoy reading about Vikings – very glad I did not live during those times – but that time period is fascinating.  I enjoyed this departure from the many young adult novels about Viking raids and recommend it to any reader looking for adventure.

eGalley review       Publication date 3.11.14

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