Raiders from the Sea
A book review for parents
This first historical fiction book in the "Viking Quest" series by Lois Walfrid Johnson is published by Moody Publishers.
Raiders From the Sea is written for kids ages 10 to 14. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Briana O'Toole (Bree) felt that her life was going to change on her 13th birthday. What she did not realize is how drastically this change would be for herself and her whole village. Viking marauders take her and her brother, Devin, to their ship. Both children must figure out how to fight for their freedom, while still trusting that God knows what is happening and has a plan for their lives.
God's provision and faithfulness is the main theme. As Bree and Devin encounter life-changing circumstances, they are constantly reminded of God's provision. He is still there for them and wants to lead them. God leads Bree to a place of forgiveness for the Vikings who have taken her away from all that she knows and loves. Because Bree is willing to forgive, God works through her to perform a miracle for her fellow prisoners and the Vikings. This shows the Vikings how powerful the One True God is.
Devin and Bree have respect for their parents and Brother Cronan who is their teacher. Their parents are God-fearing adults who do their best to raise their children as God wants them to. Brother Cronan does his best to teach the children a love of the Scriptures. Mikkel, one of the Vikings, shows respect for his mentor, Hauk. Originally he disobeys Hauk's orders but then tries to make amends by offering Hauk a gift. Mikkel does not want Hauk to be displeased with him.
Other Belief Systems
During a serious storm, Mikkel, Hauk and the rest of the Vikings call out to their god, Thor. They wonder why he is upset with them, and they offer to throw the prisoners overboard to appease him.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Raiders from the Sea gives a wonderful example of how the choices of one person affect others. Mikkel's desire for fortune is greater than his empathy for others. Several times in the story, Bree makes a remark about missing her home and her family. These comments seem to take Mikkel by surprise, as if it never occurred to him that his prisoner had a life and family.
Discuss how your decisions affect others.
- Another theme throughout the book is that God is always with you, regardless of your situation.
If God were a physical being and you truly believed He was with you day and night, how might you act differently?
- Discuss how easy it is to think that you are alone or that no one is watching.
What kinds of things can you do to remind yourself of God's presence?
- The O'Toole family makes preparations for the Viking attack. They had to think ahead about what might happen. How can Christians be spiritually prepared for an attack from the Enemy?
- What types of preparations can you do to make sure that you are ready?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.