What a great book! We read
The Cry of the Icemark to our
children (then 9 and 11) at our "morning
reading parties" (half an hour before the
start of the school day) and I can attest to
the fact that there's nothing better for
getting the day off to a good start than
following Thirrin into battle!
The Icemark is a cold, northern country inhabited by a tough people, ruled by King Redrought Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield, Bear of the North - a formidable enemy, wily leader and doting father, who likes nothing better than a nice comfy pair of slippers and a bowl of warm water in which to soak his corns after a hard day chasing down enemies of the kingdom.
Sadly, but inevitably, he dies within the first hundred pages, leaving Thirrin to rule the country and build alliances with fantastic folk, such as werewolves and vampires, in order to defend her land and people against the invading armies of the Polypontus Empire, who bear more than a passing resemblance to the Roman Empire but in the era of flintlock and cannon.
Hill borrows happily from multiple mythologies and tells a rip roaring, swift moving story that should appeal to any boy or girl who enjoys action adventures (the jacket of the USA hardcover looked a little too much like a Tamora Pierce novel to be of immediate appeal to boys, but for the paperback the publishers have used the more gender neutral cover from the UK).
"For readers whose imaginations are stirred by clashes of pike and saber and lusty cries of "Blood! Blast! And Fire!" this extravagant first novel--especially its more swiftly paced latter half--offers ample rewards." - Booklist.
This review is from the June 15, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.
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