VIKING WARRIOR, by Judson Roberts (HarperCollins 2006)(Ages 14+). ISBN 0-06-09996-X. Book One of THE STRONGBOW SAGA.
It's the Ninth Century and fifteen year old Halfdan is a slave -- the illegitimate son of slave Derdrui (who was captured long-ago in a raid on Ireland) and Danish Chieftain Hrorik Strong-Axe. Though he dreams of battle and winning spoils from foreign lands, Halfdan knows that a slave can never be a warrior. But Halfdan's fate is changed in one stroke when his mother sacrifices herself so that he may be freed. Now, Halfdan must learn to be a free man and a warrior. Can he earn the respect of his half-brother and the clan and become a true Viking warrior?
In VIKING WARRIOR, Roberts provides a richly-drawn glimpse into the Viking era. The story is fascinating and the action non-stop and appropriately bloody. Roberts offers likeable and well-developed characters without sugar-coating the mores of the day.