Wolfspell, by Anna Ciddor

It is the hungry season. Winter is nearing an end and food stores are running low. When Thora and Oddo’s families are told they must now pay harsh taxes or forfeit their land, it seems unlikely either family can find the means.

Once before Thora and Oddo have worked together to solve their problems. That was when Oddo, a farmer’s son, discovered he had magical skills and Thora, from a Spellworking family, discovered she could grow and use plants to heal. The two had worked together and undertaken a risky journey, whilst Oddo’s father lay bewitched and ill. This time, however, it seems there is nothing either can do for their family.

When Oddo’s parents leave him to look after the farm while they hunt for furs to pay their taxes, Oddo finds he must fight to defend the farm from his scheming neighbour. Thora, meanwhile, has been entursted by her father with the task of solving their taxation worries. Together, the pair undertake a journey to ensure the future of each of their families. Their path lies through thick forest, over perilous waterways, thorugh bog and over mountains. They must reach home in time to defeat Oddo’s neighbour and deliver Thora’s silver to the taxman.

Wolfspell is the second title in Anna Ciddor’s Viking Magic Series. As in the first title, Runestone, readers are presented with a strong story and a richly woven world. Ciddor melds her research into the real world of Vikings with her fantasy with great success.

Another winner.

Wolfspell, by Anna Ciddor
Allen & Unwin, 2003

Runestone, by Anna Ciddor

Thora has a problem. She is the only one in the family who can’t do magic. None of her spells work and she can’t protect herself like her other family members do. Across the valley, Oddo has the opposite problem. He is supposed to be a farmer, yet he can make magic that changes the weather or controls animals. His father won’t abide magic, so Oddo has to hide his skills.

When Oddo and Thora meet, they learn to help each other. Thora explains the world of magic to Oddo, and learns to plant and grow on Oddo’s farm. Thora suggests Oddo use his newfound magic to fix things up but, when things go wrong, the two friends learn that magic isn’t always the best way. Together they must work to put things to rights – making use of both magic and hard work – a union which pays dividends.

Set in the world of Vikings, Runestone is a rich narrative fantasy – strong both on plot and imagination. Author Anna Ciddor makes use of real Viking lifestyle and beliefs in this first book of her Viking Magic series.

Runestone, by Anna Ciddor
Allen & Unwin, 2002