The Snow-Walker Trilogy - Inspiration

The Snow-Walker Trilogy is made up of three books, originally published separately in the UK- The Snow-Walker’s Son, The Empty Hand and The Soul Thieves.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Vikings, by Norse myths, and by Anglo-Saxon poems, especially Beowulf, the fabulous story of the slaying of the monster Grendel, among others. I also like snow, and cold weather generally, and Arctic exploration. All that came together to produce this set of stories.

The hero is Kari Ragnarsson, the son of the mysterious ice-witch Gudrun. She comes from unknown lands and marries the Jarl, taking control of his kingdom. Gudrun is very much like the Snow Queen (another favourite story), and everyone is terrified of her. No one knows anything either about her son, who has been hidden away since he was born, guarded by one man in a distant castle in the ice-fields of the farthest North. It’s to this castle that Jessa and her cousin Thorkil are banished. They journey there reluctantly, trying to escape when they can, but finally they have to confront the strangeness and fear of the Snow-walker’s Son.

I don’t want to give too much away, of course. In the second book I’ve leaned heavily on the Beowulf story, because Gudrun makes a creature of ice and runes, and sends it down to attack her son and his friends. And in the third book, The Soul Thieves, our heroes have to travel to the land of the Snow-walkers itself, beyond ice and volcanoes, beyond the bottomless chasm at the world’s end, over the rainbow bridge, to Gudrun’s castle.

I was interested in the conflict between mother and son here, and how that can never be truly resolved, and about the responsibility of having power, and using it. It was also fascinating to develop a three-book story for the first time.

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