Sunday, 17 April 2011

Old Friend

Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland.

A new book by Kevin Crossley-Holland has always been a treat and this one is no exception.

This is a book about a Viking girl's quest to find her father after he breaks a promise to her, and even in the time of great Viking exploits this stands out as an incredible journey. Solveig follows her father from Scandinavia through the inland waterways of Europe all the way to what we know as Constantinople.

As in all of Kevin's books there is great suspense and adventure mixed with a wonderful amount of mythology and legend. However unlike so many writers the strands weave together perfectly and each is essential to the plot.

I know very little about Norse mythology and I am now inspired to find out more but this lack of knowledge didn't spoil the book at all it just made the story feel more magical in someway.

I knew a little more about the Volga Vikings however as there was a fascinating In Our Time episode on these people last autumn - which is still available on the BBC Listen again service here.

There are usually a few words at the end of a book that strike fear into me as a read, those being "to be continued" but in this case I can't wait. Kevin Crossley-Holland will be coming to the library where I work very soon to talk about this book and I can't wait to ask him how long I will have to wait for the sequel.

My other question is going to be about how he creates such wonderful female characters. Gatty has long been a heroine of mine but Solveig's mixture of boldness, shyness, fear and curiosity has instantly tipped her to the top of my favourite characters.

I've heard Kevin speak on several other occasions and he is inspiring - best of all he usually has some artefacts or illustrations that have inspired his work and I'm hoping that this will be the case for this book too.

I know that this is a book I am going to want to re-read soon but this time I will have a guide to Norse mythology on hand to refer to so that I don't miss any of the detail.

In the name of full disclosure I should say at this point that I have known Kevin Crossley-Holland for many years and like him immensely but this review is of a library book and not 'sponsored' by either the author or his publisher.

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