Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shadow on the Mountain, Margi Preus

Against the blue-black mountains, Espen's bicycle was just a tiny moving speck. Far below the road, the river pulsed and rushed, swollen with rain and snowmelt. The sun had long ago slipped away, leaving just a thin fringe of light glimmering along the ragged edge of the western mountains. The dangerous time of day, his grandmother would have said, the time of day the trolls come out.

Set in World War II, this is about the resistance against the Nazis in Norway, which was invaded. The main character, Espen, is 14 years old when the war starts, and becomes an avid member of the rebellion. He goes from delivering illegal newspapers to being a courier, and finally, a spy. He spends five years doing this during the Nazi rule, and he makes new friends, while losing many of his own friends, falls in love, and makes one mistake. So he must escape, and ski over the mountains to Sweden.

Shadow on the Mountain is by Margi Preus, the author of Heart of a Samurai. I liked this book better, not necessarily because the writing was any better, but because I'm more interested in this period. I know that a lot of the Northern European countries just surrendered to the Nazis when they invaded, but Norway was not one of them. It was really interesting to read about the subtle ways that Norwegians tried to resist, and also the subtle (and not subtle) ways that the Germans enforced their power. What really struck me was just the confusion all around (incidentally, exactly what the Nazis wanted.) You don't who to trust, and there are no freedoms allowed (no radios, no newspapers, nothing.) Some of the Norwegians (like one character named Askel), sympathize with the Nazis and join them to spy on their fellow Norwegians. Even one of Espen's own friends, Kjell, sympathizes with the Nazis. At one point, Espen has to go into hiding, and his family doesn't see him for weeks. It just must be so scary. And some of the Jewish Norwegians start getting taken away too. This was a very suspenseful book, and I really liked it. Also, this book hasn't come out yet (I received an ARC.) It is scheduled to come out in September.

Read Shadow on the Mountain:
  • if you like books about World War II
  • if you like books about resistance against the face of a stronger force
  • if you like books set in Norway or Northern Europe
262 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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