THE SILVER SEA by Julia Golding


Age Range: 11 - 14
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Though bursting with bloody battles, romance and sacrifice, this archetypal-hero legend falls prey to unsubtle prose and uneasy racial constructions. In 880 BCE Norway, Freydis survives a pirate attack by her Viking father’s blood-feud foe, but she’s wounded and her brother is kidnapped. Their hateful father, Ohthere, sails for rescue and vengeance, dumping Freydis with the Sami, a northern tribe. Unbeknownst to Ohthere, brother Toki escapes pirate captivity and befriends another tribe, the Beormas. Ohthere gifts Freydis an African slave named Enno, who has warrior marks on his cheeks but no named culture or religion; he’s stereotypically proud and rebellious but values Freydis’s life above his freedom. Slavery here is an unsavory combination of destiny and convenient narrative vehicle for getting a dark-skinned man to Norway for plot purposes. The Sami and Beormas exhibit a romanticism oft assigned to tribal peoples. The aftermath of Freydis’s ultimate battle sacrifice will tug heartstrings—but only if readers persist through several hundred pages of plodding, overexplanatory prose that makes revelations and epic import feel lukewarm. (author’s note, glossary) (Historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5725-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2010


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