Snow-walker (Snow-walker Trilogy Series) by Catherine Fisher, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Snow-walker (Snow-walker Trilogy Series)

Snow-walker (Snow-walker Trilogy Series)

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by Catherine Fisher

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Since Gudrun came from the frozen mists beyond the edge of the world, the Jarl's people have obeyed her in hatred andterror. But the enchantress has one weakness: a son, Kari, banished to a forbidding fortress in the north, never seen by the Jarl's people. In secret they wonder: Are the rumors true? Was he born a monster?

Now Jessa and her cousin Thorkil


Since Gudrun came from the frozen mists beyond the edge of the world, the Jarl's people have obeyed her in hatred andterror. But the enchantress has one weakness: a son, Kari, banished to a forbidding fortress in the north, never seen by the Jarl's people. In secret they wonder: Are the rumors true? Was he born a monster?

Now Jessa and her cousin Thorkil have been exiled to the north, and if they survive the journey, they will find the truth: Is Kari a beast? Or the means to stop the sorceress?

Editorial Reviews

Time Magazines Educational Supplement
"A spell-binding story, sure to kindle the imagination."
Horn Book Magazine
“Fisher comes out with another winner.”
Times Educational Supplement
“A spell-binding story, sure to kindle the imagination.”
Publishers Weekly
Originally published in Great Britain as three separate volumes, Fisher's (The Oracle Betrayed) ice-coated saga tells of an evil sorceress and her lust for power. The witch Gudrun, the Snow-walker of the title, has come to the Jarlshold from the far north and used her magic to overthrow the Wulfings, the rightful rulers, and install her husband as "Lord Jarl," as a puppet leader. Most of the subjects live in dire fear of the new regime, but young Jessa, from the Wulfing lineage, whose father was killed in the coup, speaks her mind in front of the Jarl. She and her cousin, Thorkil, are now "old enough to be dangerous," so the ruler exiles them to a faraway outpost where Gudrun has imprisoned her son, Kari, since his youth. "The child is a monster," say the rumors. But Jessa learns otherwise: "[Kari] has her powers. [That's] the reason she locked her son away and never even let him be seen." After Gudrun kills the Jarl, the four know they have little time before she shows up there. Over the course of the three books, Kari confronts Gudrun, who flees the Jarlshold; the witch sends monsters to seek revenge; and the books build to the inevitable mother vs. son showdown. Because of the episodic nature of the tales, originally intended to stand alone, the bigger story arcs do not fully develop and ancillary characters remain thin. Still, the author creates an atmospheric setting, and fans of Norse myths and magic may be swept up in this frosty tale. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The latest import from Catherine Fisher—who lives in Wales—is this Norse fantasy trilogy presented in one volume. With evocative verse-snippets from Norse poems and Beowulf setting the stage for each chapter, Fisher plunges into her believable saga of power and treachery northern style. Book One introduces the self-possessed heroine Jessa, fighting for the return of her ancestral lands with a vengeance. Gudrun—the snow-walker of the title, and a most marvelous villainess—banishes Jessa and her cousin Thorkil to the far north where they discover Kari, the snow-walker's abandoned son. Books Two and Three follow Jessa, Kari, and their stalwart friends as they fight Gudrun's curses in an attempt to bring peace to the land. The red herring in the first book is a bit transparent, but the following stories make up for that as they plunge ahead through lands blighted by ice, snow, and never-ending winter. The author's strength lies in her descriptive powers. Her snow feels cold. She has done her early Norse research, too. The villages, the Jarlshold, the shamans—all have the ring of truth about them, making this book more like a step into the Nordic past than just another fantasy. 2004, Greenwillow/HarperCollins, Ages 10 up.
—Kathleen Karr
Gudrun, the evil sorceress who controls the Jarl's kingdom, is a Snow-walker-when she enters a room, ice forms. Her powers control people and weather. Stories about her exiled son, Kari, fill the kingdom, because no one has seen him or knows what kind of monster he might be. When Jessa and her cousin Thorkil are exiled, they are sent on a long journey to Thrasirshall where Kari is. They arrive to find a teenage boy about their own age who has the look of the Snow-walkers like Kari's mother. As they become friends, they discover that Kari is a mirror image of his mother-he has her powers and coldness, but he would rather fit in with humanity than dominate it. Brochael, Kari's keeper; Skapti, the singer/storyteller; and the young serf Hakon help Jessa, Thorkil, and Kari rid the kingdom of Gudrun and restore the proper family to the Jarl's position. The three books contained in this volume-The Snow-Walker's Son, The Empty Hand, and The Soul Thieves, comprise a trilogy filled with journeys and characters who use wits to outsmart someone more powerful. The book follows the group as they seek to find ways to overthrow Gudrun and help Kari become a part of society even though people are prejudiced against him. Interesting characters, creatures, and tasks will engage readers of fantasy. The three installments together make a hefty book, but readers who enjoy fantasy will find this volume an excellent addition to the genre. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Eos/Greenwillow, 512p., and PLB Ages11 to 18.
—Cynthia Faughnan
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2004: Fisher weaves a story from both Celtic and Norse mythology in a feudal world terrorized by Gundrun, a Snow-Walker from the edge of the world. Gundrun comes back to the Jarlshold with Ragnar, the lone survivor of a war band sent to defeat the Snow-Walkers terrorizing the northlands. When through treachery Ragnar becomes the new Jarl, she reigns with an icy hand, using her sorcery to control the people of the Jarlshold through fear, even sending her only son Kari into exile in the north. Jessa and her cousin Thorkil are the youngest in the line of Wulfings, the family that has always produced the Lord Jarl. Because they are a threat to Ragnar's leadership, she sends them in exile to Thrasirshall, where the mysterious Kari is imprisoned. Banding together, they return to Jarlshold where Kari challenges his mother's rule and saves his soul. This single volume was originally a trilogy, published in Great Britain more than ten years ago. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, HarperCollins, Greenwillow, 625p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Snow-walkers drift across great plates of ice, through sleet and snow, in the farthest north, where nothing else lives. When these terrible beings come into contact with humans, they can freeze people with a touch or enmesh them in dreams and steal their souls. The story of a protracted conflict between the Snow-walker witch, Gudrun, and her half-human son Kari, her mirror image, is told mostly from the point of view of Jessa, the daughter of a dispossessed nobleman. With her two knives and equally sharp wits, she makes a satisfying heroine, the only female in a group of companions who resist Gudrun's efforts to conquer their realm and draw Kari under her spell. Their adventures, steeped in Norse mythology and Old English epic poetry, unfold in three books, published separately in England and bound together in this edition. The middle tale, "The Empty Hand," with its monster created by Gudrun's spells, recalls Beowulf. Fisher is a skillful storyteller, using clear language and plenty of action to keep the plot moving. She is at her artistic best when she evokes the northern landscape, with its green pastures, vast haunted forests, and icy reaches where the northern lights glow. Her characters are painted with broad strokes, their conflicts and relationships simple and direct. However, patching together the three titles into one continuous narrative leaves some rough spots. A character from the first book is dropped without explanation, and the second book offers unnecessary retelling of previous events. Still, fantasy readers will happily follow the adventures of Jessa, Kari, and their brave companions.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Richly atmospheric Nordic fantasy aswirl with snow and magic. Many years ago, a pale sorceress walked out of the North and gripped the Jarlshold (ruling house of the realm) in her evil grasp. When her son was born, she hid him away. A girl named Jessa meets him and finds out the secret: Kari is just like his mother, a Snow-walker with phenomenal power. Jessa and a bard named Skapti join Kari and his fiercely devoted caretaker Brochael in defeating Gudrun over the course of this tale, divided into three sections because it was originally published in three separate volumes. A final journey into the frozen spirit world beyond the North tests Kari's powers and his strength to resist Gudrun's call to become a soul thief like her. Chapter-head quotations come from Norse poems and Beowulf. Delicately written yet unquestionably solid, this supremely satisfying one-volume trilogy combines snow and ice with loyalty, love, trust, and adventure. (Fantasy. 10-15)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Interesting characters, creatures, and tasks will engage readers. An excellent addition to the genre.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Snow-walker Trilogy Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.28(d)
Age Range:
10 - 15 Years

Meet the Author

Catherine Fisher's acclaimed works include Darkhenge, Snow-walker, and The Oracle Betrayed, which was a finalist for the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She lives in Newport, Wales.

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