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Vimp the Viking

Published April 2009 

Vimp the Viking's Epic Voyage by Peter L Ward
Illustrated by Steve Crisp
Trafford Publishing 2009  £6.99

ISBN: 978-1-4251-4253-7

Reviews

'the first novel in a rolicking Viking Trilogy...Mixing elements of Norse mythology, adventure, cheeky humour, romance and magic...adventure with heroic kid appeal' blueink REVUE 2012

'Peter L Ward has the makings of a great story here, bringing characters and battles vividly to life.' ForeWord Reviews 2012

'a strong start to what looks like a good series.' ForeWord Reviews 2012

Outline and quotes

Young teenagers Vimp and Freya defy their elders when it comes to established Viking customs.  Vimp and his apprentice shipwrights have no intention of taking weapon instruction once their funeral longboat is built.  They don't want to train as warriors and plunderers of other people's possessions.  It's teenage rebellion on a big scale; peace not war and very unViking.

Chapter 5 Warrior Training - excerpt

'Outside the Weapons Centre stood the most feared Viking warrior of all.  The boys trembled at the gigantic figure of Olaf Skullcrusher, a legend in his own lifetime.  Olaf towered over the motley crew, his fierce, dark eyes blazing through the visor of his war helmet.
In one gnarled fist, he gripped a steel sword whose jagged edges bore witness to the battles he'd won.  In the other, he grasped a mighty wooden club whose name was known to all villagers.  This was 'Nutcracker' and Olaf boasted that more than two hundred enemies had fallen to its ferocious swing.  Which was curious as he couldn't count.  He generally forgot to mention that most of his victims were peaceful farmers and fishermen who'd only tried to protect their loved ones.
Olaf had a particular hatred of the Saxon English peoples on the other side of the sea.  He'd plundered many a coastal village and monastery and regularly returned to the Land of the Vikings burdened with treasure and the spoils of war.  He surveyed the miserable bunch of frightened apprentices cringing at his feet.
"You're late!" he thundered, raising his bushy eyebrows.
This wasn't true.  If anything, the boys were early. 
"That means no lunch break," he continued.  "If there's anything I can't abide it's lazy varmints who can't get out of bed on time in the morning.  No lunch, I say!"
He thrust his sword into its massive sheath and grabbed a chicken leg from a bag tied round his middle.  To the horror of the watching boys he devoured it whole, bones and all.
"Now!" he said, spitting odd bits of chicken over the front row of recruits and wiping his greasy hand on his orange beard.  "Follow me and I'll learn you your first lesson."

Freya is an a different league.  Grand-daughter of the ailing former village Chieftain, Freya enjoys a privileged position in the community.  It seems she possesses special powers although only vaguely aware of their potency.  Despite her high-born background, Freya's best friend is English slave captive, Emma.  To her dismay she learns that Emma will be sacrificed when her grand-father dies and her body lain with his, in the funeral boat.  There's only one way out.  They must escape the village and get away.  When the apprentices learn of the awful event they throw in their lot with the girls and plan a mass exodus.  All they need is a boat...and they've just built one!

Chapter Seven  Freya weaves her Magic - excerpt

The boat rose onto the crest of a gigantic wave before pitching down the other side.  Now, the fearful rowers fought for their lives.  They had no time to be frightened.  Putting their backs into the work they pulled hard as the mountainous wave crashed into the boat and threatened to plunge it to the bottom.  Then Lief saw something that convinced him he was losing his mind.  High on the raised prow of the new vessel, the ghostly form of a young maiden appeared.  She was clothed in pale green and her slim outline glowed.  Other maidens joined her to dance on the waves, twisting and twirling in the teeth of the gale.  The ship filled with ethereal green light.  To Lief, it seemed that these extraordinary figures were mocking the strenuous efforts of his oarsmen.
A second crackle of lightning fizzed at the raging surface of the sea and Lief was dismayed to find that his oarsmen had ceased rowing.  From the startled expression on their frozen faces he worked out they'd seen something dreadful.  Following the direction of their glazed eyes, he turned to see the monstrous, bearded face of an old man rising from the waves.  Sea water streamed from his huge skull and trailing wisps of beard swirled in the turbulent waters.  He spoke in a tumultuous voice, drowning out the whine of the wind.
"Who are you that dare set out upon my ocean?" he cried.  "You have seen my daughters dance around your vessel.  Once you see my wave maidens, your end is very near.  No living creature has survived such a vision."
He reached out with enormous hands, each the size of the ship, and his claw-like fingers closed over the mast.
"With these hands," he thundered, "I plunge you to the depths of my Kingdom!"

 The youngsters hardly know how to navigate, let alone cope with furious deities and storms.  Far worse - pirates. Real Viking pirates. Freya saves the situation once more, calling up Iormungandr, Serpent of the World - a very risky venture.  One that, ultimately, will get her into triuble with the Viking deities. 

The adventure continues.  Becalmed in thick North Sea fog, the crew is shown the way to the Saxon shore by a school of dolphins.  But there's no welcome party as the exhausted crew drag their boat up the beach.  Inspired by the example of King Alfred the local Anglo-Saxons are hidden, ready to do battle.  
A small group of the young Vikings ventures into the nearby forest where they're captured by an alert Saxon patrol.  The game is up.  But there's double trouble when a fully armed Viking raider appears in the bay, threatening the party back at the boat.
Freya resorts not to her magical powers but something more human - the power of beautiful music, an anathema to the loutish warriors manning the oars.  This is Freya's final act before her inexplicable disappearance.

Vimp the Viking's Epic Journey  is more than a rip-roaring story for boys and girls.  History and legend intersperse with issues relevant to the present-day.  The crew, landing on the East coast, are asylum seekers.   
The story challenges the commonly held 'barbaric' view of Vikings.  Whilst brutal violence played an awesome role in many conquests, most Vikings led uneventful, family lives as farmers or fishermen.  Others worked in skilled trades or crafts.    
The young heroes of the tale value civility, unimpressed by prospect of plunder and theft in foreign lands.

Freya and the Fenris-Wolf

Freya

Published 2010 

ISBN:978-1-4269-2510-8

Revues

'An action-packed plot works well to move the story forward...familiarity with Norse mythology or Saxon culture is unnecessary, due to Ward's gift for lively exposition.' Kirkus Reviews 2012

'Characters are well developed, and settings are described with visual flair...readers who have come this far will want to read the final volume to see how things end.' ForeWord Reviews 2012

Illustrated by Steve Crisp 

The exciting sequel to Vimp the Viking's Epic Voyage. Mysterious Freya leaves her friends at the end of the first book. Transformed into a frail white gull, she heads across the North Sea to return to her Viking homeland. But there's terrible trouble in store. Unwittingly, Freya has angered the Gods by mis-use of her unearthly powers. Now, brought back to human form, she is called to book, in celestial Asgard, and placed on trial at the Court of great God Odin. Freya is fortunate to escape punishment by death and is, instead, ordered back to a slave existence on Earth. Trickster God, Loki, has other ideas, however, and arranges to place Freya in charge of the feeding of his banished, out-of-control offspring the awesome Fenris-Wolf.

It is because of a Viking raid on the Abbey built on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne that Vimp and his friends learn about Freya's dreadful fate. She must be rescued and that means gaining permission from their new Anglo-Saxon friends in order to sail back across the North Sea.  Deep in the forest, on the way to the lake island where Freya is marooned with the tethered monster, Vimp and his rescuers come across a trapped wolf. Agnar and his two younger brothers have news of Freya so the young Vikings join forces with the forest wolves in a bold rescue bid.

Angry Loki is determined to punish the rescuers but is confronted by Freya who scorns his Godly credentials. The young Vikings make it back to Northumbria but Agnar, the great grey wolf, lies mortally wounded. Fittingly, his death is celebrated by a moving Viking funeral - the burning at sea of the boat used in the successful rescue. The heroes are now ready to settle in Saxon England but life is never plain sailing. In the forthcoming final part of the planned Viking Trilogy, Eric and the Mystical Bear, Vimp and his friends are forced, yet again, on a journey of hazard and adventure.

The Adventures of Charles Darwin

The Adventures of Charles Darwin

Peter Ward

CUP paperback re-print  ISBN 978-0-521-31074-1

Price £9.99  $14.99

'An excellent introduction for younger readers...'
Times Literary Supplement

'This is writing for children at its best.'
Nature

If Darwin sounds a bit heavy for children, think again...'
The Sun (Australia)

'Have we a minor classic here?'
School Librarian

CONTACT

Peter Ward

Acorn Cottage, 1 Pope's Row, Chicks Lane, Kilndown, Kent TN 17 2RR

home: 01892 891403 mb: 079 220 77629

Email: peter.ward16@btinternet.com

 
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