In the land of ice and snow, danger lurks around every corner. Princess Solveig, middle child of an important Jarl (a regional ruler), is sent to a remote fort with her siblings, protectors, and retainers to wait out the winter during her father's military campaign. Solveig is, unfortunately, more of a tag-along than a valuable asset worth protecting; her younger brother is destined to inherit their father's throne. Her older, beautiful sister is destined to win the heart of a prince and an important position. Solveig is simply Solveig; the middle child of an important man, destined for mediocrity.
But when sabatoge threatens the group, and help is far across the sea, no one is safe. A traitor lurks within the fort... When everyone around her is a suspect, Solveig must confront adversity herself and understand her place in the world. In the center of a dangerous mystery, she must find out what it means to be Solveig: forging her own identity with a strength of character worthy of the mightiest of Norse heroes.
This book contains a pervading respect for Norse culture and an in-depth portrayal of what being an "average person" truly means. The main character, Solveig, is not imbued with any supernatural qualities befitting many heroes; she is, indeed, an everyday person confronted with extraordinary circumstances. She represents the type of inadequacy and overall lack of talent that everyone, particularly young adults, have felt at one time or another. This realistic style is carried over to all characters in the book. In this regard, Icefall is one of the most mature books I have ever read. There are no characters who are "evil" for no particular reason. Each deals with their trials in a unique way, changing their characters for better or worse, and confronting their inner struggles as they develop. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
Winner of 4 Literary Honors. Written by Matthew J. Kirby; 325 pages. Paperback.