Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Rigg Leifsson and his friend Ari are in the wilderness of Greenland, hunting a wolf that has been harassing their village. Rigg is the son of Leif Eriksson, the explorer, and grandson of Erik the Red, explorer and founder of the Greenland settlement that they all live in. Erik and a team of men are exploring Vinland, the land across the ocean that Rigg and his father discovered earlier, and Leif is with his own team of men voyaging in northern Greenland. So it falls to Rigg and Ari to hunt the wolf.
Their hunt leads them to a barren valley that the settlement uses as a sacrificial ground. A storm forces them to a cave that is used as a holding place for the human sacrifices. Such a sacrifice hasn't been made for many years, so the valley should feel empty, but Rigg and Ari sense some kind of presence.
The presence is given form in Nara, a native Greenlander. She captures both Rigg and Ari and holds them with the intention of revenging the deaths of her family members. Rigg convinces her to free them with the promise of safe passage home on a ship, and a hope that the men who killed her family can be brought to justice. This agreement has saved Rigg and Ari for the moment, but could put them in greater danger back at their settlement.
Christianity has come to the Vikings, and the people are torn. There are high-level supporters of the new religion in Erik's wife. Erik himself remains pagan, along with his sister, a very powerful, and frightening, witch. To invite her displeasure is the most dangerous of all.
Rigg isn't sure which side he takes in the religious debate, but he is sure that he should help Nara -- though he's not quite sure how to go about it, or even explain her presence. All of this must be done in a way that not only gets Nara home safely, but keeps Rigg, and Ari, and anyone who helps them, safe as well.
This is a very interesting time in Viking history. The Vikings made incredible progress in exploring the world, and in many cases they assimilated more than they conquered. This story occurs right around the time when the scales tipped and the Viking reign began to crash. It's a good imagining of how things would feel right at that balance, when small things begin to shift the weight.
VIKING TERROR is the second in a series of books (why do I always miss these things?); I think I would have had a slightly different view of things if I had read the first installment. Not to say that it's not a good piece of historical fiction, because it is. It definitely gives you a sense of the world at that time. I just think it would have been good to have had an idea of the greater whole story. I would say that if you have an interest in this time in the world, or in the Vikings, this is a good book for you.