Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate; Young Adult
Author: Matthew J. Kirby
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Solveig and her royal siblings, Harald and Asa, are stranded. They must live out the winter in an old hall hidden away on a frozen fjord. While their father is off to war, he has ordered his family to stay at the hall under a royal guard. He promised his children and men that he would send supplies and eventually a boat to bring them back home. But as the winter months draw out and their supplies run low, mysterious deaths start to occur. Solveig can tell that these deaths are no accidents. There are traitors among their small party. When enemy ships come into the fjord, the true traitors come to light. Solveig and her siblings must escape to keep their royal lineage safe.
Kirby tells the story through the eyes of Solveig. Solveig is neither heir to the throne, like her brother Harald, or a beautiful marriage-age princess, like her sister Asa. Solveig feels alone and lost, but she keeps herself occupied by taking care of everyone’s physical needs. Solveig has a clever, attentive mind as she closely observes her fellow hall dwellers. But Kirby adds an unlikely twist to the plot with more than one traitor with diverging agendas involving the royal family. At its core the story is a medieval Nordic murder mystery. But at its heart, it’s the longings, fears, and observations of a young girl struggling to fit in. Icefall is an engrossing read great for boys and girls ages ten and up.