by Jonathan Stroud
Halli Sveinsson isn't like his brother or sister. While they're both tall and slender, he's short, stocky, and a little clumsy. He doesn't have a lot to look forward to either. His elder brother Leif stands to become Arbiter upon their father's death, while Halli is fated to become a farmer. He'd much rather be a hero like the legendary Svein, who helped drive back the fearsome Trows long ago.
Halli is bored, rebellious, and quick to anger, with no thought of consequences. When he plays a trick on Ragnar Hakonsson, he reignites a family feud, setting in motion a series of events culminating in a dangerous battle.
With a backdrop of myth, superstition, monsters, ghosts, heroes, revenge, and honor, this is a totally engrossing adventure that will captivate boys and girls alike. Girls will especially admire Aud Ulfar's-daughter, who is athletic, smart, and fearless. The battle scenes, which take place in the dark, is wonderfully frightening; it'll be difficult to stop reading.