One of the most entertaining books I've read in a long time is The Mad Wolf's Daughter by Diane Magras. The book's target audience is readers ages 9 to 12, and the lean text reflects that age group, but The Mad Wolf's Daughter is an exciting adventure story that anyone will enjoy.
Set in Scotland during the Middle Ages, the heroine is 12-year old Drest. Drest lives with her father and five brothers; she never knew her mother. The family works together as a household troop, a war-band that goes out to fight and conduct raids. Drest, too, has learned to fight but, because she is the youngest, she has remained home while her family goes out on adventures. One night after her father and brothers returned, very tired, from a raid, a group of knights invade their home turf, a high point of land that extends out into the Scottish waters. On her father's orders, Drest hides from the invaders. And although she escapes harm, her family is captured and taken away by boat.
Drest finds one injured knight who was left behind by the raiders. She learns from him that her family has been taken to a castle and will be hanged in a matter of days. Determined to rescue them, Drest departs for the castle. She brings the injured knight along with her as her captive and bargaining chip. And thus the adventure begins as Drest encounters bandits and witches, makes new friends, hears disturbing revelations, and engages in lots of swashbuckling action as she starts to build her own legend in the Scottish countryside.
The Mad Wolf's Daughter is great fun, a pleasure to read, and a book I highly recommend. Hopefully there will be many more books from Diane Magras in the future.
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