Halvdan the Viking is a new series by Martin Widmark and illustrator Mats Vänehem. The young boy Halvdan who finds himself in one adventure after the other, together with his friend Meia.
In this first part of the Halvdan the Viking series, The Chieftain’s Cup, we get to know Halvdan. By rights he should have accompanied his father on a Viking journey, but a serious injury to his foot kept him in the village, staying with Björn the blacksmith. Halvdan is short and walks with a limp, but he has a poetic gift, something he finds very useful in his many adventures when he finds he must win the trust of uncouth Vikings, and not least in his dealings with Ragnar the Dragonslayer, the chieftain of the village, of whom everyone is terrified. Together with Meia, chieftain Ragnar’s courageous niece, Halvdan prevents Ragnar from being thoroughly tricked by the chieftain of the rival village.
Martin Widmark himself describes what it is like to portray the Viking era: "Writing for children about our, at times violent and greedy, forefathers involves zigzagging between respect and loathing. Respect for their bravery and skill at boatbuilding, for example, and loathing for their bloodshed, plundering and slave trafficking. But it was impossible to try and bypass these ingredients. That is why I have written a few words of warning at the beginning of each book: The Vikings, who exactly were they? They lived a thousand years ago. We know that. But there is a lot we don’t know. Some say they were dirty, unpleasant and that they loved fighting. Others say they stole and fought without thinking twice. And you know what? I think they are right…"
The second part in the Halvdan the Viking series, Främlingens grav (The stranger’s grave), will be published in June 2012.