First in a quartet of Viking stories for young readers.

The orphan children of the late chieftain, Sten Brightsword, fifteen year-old Ahl and his older sister Ingir, witness an attack by the most feared of Viking raiders, the Jomsviking, in which all the adults in their village, Birka, are kidnapped.

The children of the chieftain are forced to take action. First of all, they have to find a hiding place where they and their friends are safe. Then, when the raiders have left, the young people sail off to follow them in a desperate attempt to rescue the captives. But not all of the crew are as loyal as they should be. The brave orphans are betrayed and find themselves in grave danger of captivity and risk being sold into slavery. Can the courageous and daring orphans find the missing islanders and bring them to safety?

This book was listed by the Historical Novel Society for an award.

Reader reviews

By Oliver age 10 on 15 January 2016
I found this book, not only thrilling, but also useful for history. It is set in the Viking period and it felt very real while I was reading it. The author made it really enjoyable. The children in the story were very creative and I would have liked to have met them. It must have been a scary period of history and this is what made it realistic and exciting. I would definitely recommend this to anyone aged 8 to 11 years and I can’t wait to read the next one.

By “Villager “on 21 Jan. 2016
I read this with my two boys (ages 12 and 9) and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. The boys found it to be interesting and descriptive, and very evocative of the historical period. There is adventure, danger, humour and great characters – my eldest’s favourite character was Botvid and my youngest’s was Ulf. Personally, I liked Ingir and her quest for gender equality!

It is a nice length too – just long enough to get engrossed but not too long. My kids were asking for more chapters every night!

Would definitely recommend to any young readers (boys or girls) who like adventurous stories. We are very keen to read the next story to see what happens.

By Charlie aged 11
I enjoyed the book as I felt I was sat down listening to the writer telling me his story and I could see the story develop in my mind. My favourite part was at the end when the daring escape took place by the people of Birka, it made me happy and I had a smile on my face. I loved to read this story as it was an adventure and I would recommend the story to anyone of my age to enjoy.
November 5, 2015, Review of ‘Children of the Chieftain: Betrayed’ by Nicole Hastings – Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
I was really impressed with this book, “Children of the Chieftain” by Michael E. Wills. It had a riveting plot and interesting storylines that will definitely appeal to teens and even adults as well. The descriptions were vivid and atmospheric – I really felt transported to another time and place, and the conversations felt authentic – how teens would really talk. It had perfect editing (I notice these things) and the shorter chapters gave it a nice, fast pace. Loved all the Norse Myth! Hope the next book, “Banished” is available soon as this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Recommended for ages 10 and up. (5 stars) Nicole Hastings

November 5, 2015, Review of ‘Children of the Chieftain: Betrayed’ by Jhonni Parker, USA
“Children of the Chieftain: Betrayed” by Michael E. Wills is one awesome adventure that I will not soon forget! And even though I literally had NO idea what the book was about when I started (I didn’t read the description as I wanted to be surprised), as the story began to unfold and become clear where it was going, I was like, “YES!!!” so much awesome! Love the YA heroes-quest-fantasy-adventure-type tale. It was also intelligently written and kept me hooked with all the interesting history and Viking cultures. The story flowed well, and the author writes very descriptively and with really nice prose. Felt authentic for being a book with younger leads, you really can’t fake that ‘voice’, either you have it or you don’t. Does a great job of making us feel like we are really a part of the story, and I can’t wait to read more from Mr. Wills in the future. Recommend for fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc… (5 stars) Jhonni Parker

August 19, 2015, Review of ‘Children of the Chieftain: Betrayed’ by Jo Barton at Jaffareadstoo.
5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads
When the town of Birka is raided by the most fearsome of Vikings, the Jomsviking, many of the people are captured. A group of orphans are forced to take action and lead their friends in a desperate attempt to rescue the captives. But not all of their allies are as loyal as they should be. The brave children are betrayed and find themselves in grave danger of captivity and risk being sold into slavery.

I have a great passion for historical fiction and can remember quite clearly when I was an early reader at primary school racing through stories of great adventure and of the thrill of being transported back in time. I am sure that modern day children are no less excited by the tales of derring-do and that even in this computer age , the majority of kids can appreciate a good story when they see one.

When asked to read and review Children of the Chieftain: Betrayed, I agreed eagerly as I have already read the work of this fine author before and I knew that even though this story is distinctly targeted at the children’s market, it would appeal to my sense of fun and adventure.

The story is really well written with an entirely appropriate sense of adventure which neither patronises nor overly protects its young audience. There’s a definite sense of time and place and the palpable air of fear generated by the Viking raid is particularly well done. The young people, on whom the book focuses, are feisty and fearless and show remarkable fortitude in the presence of great danger.I think that this is something that would appeal to, maybe, eight to thirteen year olds who enjoy a rollicking good adventure, and it works equally well as an introduction to Scandinavian history. The book is a perfect length, I read it quite comfortably in the space of an afternoon, but probably a child with rather more distractions may want to read it, either with an adult or curled up on a chair, over a longer period of time.

I am also reassured that there is to be a sequel – Children of the Chieftan : Banished, is expected sometime next year, so there’s plenty of adventure still to come, and in the hands of this fine writer, I am sure that it’s going to be something to really look forward to.

August 1, 2015, Review of ‘Children of the Chieftain: Betrayed’ by Historical Novel Society
When Jomsviking raiders return, during the burial ritual of their chieftain, the trading village of Birka is caught unawares and all the adults, and the small children with them upon the sea, are captured. Thanks to the quick thinking of the shaman the older children and teenagers ashore hid themselves and survive the raid. Ahl and Ingir, the chief’s children take charge and organise those who remain in order to survive. When circumstances provides the means to attempt a rescue of the captives the strongest and bravest of the children set out, but unfortunately, not all of those who present themselves as friends turn out to be and the children find themselves led into a trap that it will take all their wits to escape.

An absolutely excellent novel that I could not put down. This slim volume is an superb introduction to the Viking world for eight year olds and above. With a professionally produced, attractive cover I can see this one flying off the school library bookshelves if it were stocked. The quality of the writing is marvellous, and the story so gripping that, even though I was extremely tired, I stayed up to the small hours to read it in one sitting. Having worked as an English Teacher in Sweden for thirteen years, and with a passion for Scandinavian culture and military history, Michael E Willis is well qualified to breathe life into the Viking past and bring children believable, expertly written accounts of the dark ages. I highly recommend this book, if you have an eight to twelve year old child or grandchild, buy them a copy today, they will thoroughly enjoy it. I am very pleased to see that this is the first in a planned trilogy, I eagerly look forward to reading the sequel.

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