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Saturday, 5 September 2009

Wolf Cry Review

Author: Julia Golding

Release date: August 2009

Genre: History

Target audience: 11+

From Amazon:
Freydis has been left for dead following a raid by pirates on her father's Viking stronghold. Her brother has been kidnapped and Freydis's father is hellbent on revenge. But this is a volatile man who loathes his daughter and is
driven by the love of his son. Reluctantly he takes Freydis with him on his journey, giving her a slave - Enno - to tend her. As Freydis's father becomes more bitter and cruel, and the hunt for his son becomes increasingly desperate, Freydis and Enno draw closer together. But when battle
looms on the horizon, the bonds of friendship, obedience and loyalty are tested
to the limit.

Golding's Wolf Cry is perhaps her most beautifully written novel. The telling of this epic Viking saga alternates between the journey of Freya and that of her brother - Toki - who is taken hostage by the enemy pirates. This description of the moment when Toki is waiting with two Beormas (a father and daughter from the Sami tribes) for the enemy to attack is an illustration of Golding's magic with language in this book: "They seemed to give themselves over to the moment, like swans skimming along a perfect current; his emotions churned like a salmon thrashing to go upstream against the rapids."

The characterisation was also excellent with each character having an individual depth. My favourite was Enno. Being enslaved since early childhood, he depises the Vikings and refuses to submit to a master. Yet as the story unfolds, he has to challenge his own perception of them as his connection to Freydis develops. Their relationship is the most powerful part of the novel as it gives a tenderness to an otherwise ruthless story of war and piracy.

The novel was divided into sections by short verses which fortell the events of the next few chapters. I personally found these an irritating and unnecessary interruption. I tended to ignore them and turn the page to continue reading the prose.

Readers who liked Stuart Hill's Cry of the Icemark (Icemark Chronicles triology)will inevitably enjoy reading this book. Although it lacks the fantasy element of his books, Wolf Cry is a quicker and less challenging read aimed at a younger audience. Overall, the novel is fast-paced, startingly descriptive and gripping. I really enjoyed reading it!