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Icefall - Matthew J. Kirby Solveig is the daughter of a king; she is not beautiful, like her older sister Asa, and she is not a boy, an heir, like her little brother Harald. She is just...Solvieg, plain and sometimes invisible. Now Solveig's father is at war with with a neighboring king, and Solveig and her siblings are squirreled away, with only a few of her father's most loyal warriors and servants, in an isolated fjord. Just before the winter freeze makes it impossible for ships to reach them, her father sends his berserkers, Oden's men, the king's personal guard, men who wear the skins of bears and wolves and go into a blind, frenzied rage during battle that's dangerous for enemies as well as friends. And then begins the sabotage, first the cows that were to see the group fed through the winter released into the wild, then a poison that hits nearly every one of the berkserkers and leaves only those closest to Solveig as suspects. And they're all trapped there until spring thaw.

There are other things that seem too important not to mention, but that don't really need to be mentioned in a plot summary; Solveig's affection for the head of the berserkers, her realization that she's meant to be a storyteller and her training toward that end, her love for her brother, her desperation for her father's attention and approval. And of couse, you probably got that this is historical fiction, set in Scandanavia in the late 9th century. It feels like fantasy, like your'e constantly waiting for on eof the gods to come out, or for Solveig's storytelling to weave an actual spell, but it's not fantasy.

But it is pretty awesome. I love Solveig; she was very believable, and the depth of her emotions really shone. I love Hake, and Harald, and I love the story; it's got mystery, suspense, a tiny bit of romance. And awesome characters being awesome in a really authentic-feeling way. Very nice.