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Shield Maiden is a Historical Fantasy Adventure For Children of Ages 9+

Anna is a 12 year old girl growing up in a Saxon village in 7th century Mercia. Her life changes when she finds a golden horn in the ruins of a Roman Villa. Soon an ugly dwarf, a beautiful sorceress and even her own people are after her.


What powers does the horn have and why does everyone want it?


And why is Anna the only one who can get a note out of it?



About Shield Maiden

Shield Maiden is the first book in The Nine Worlds series in which the historical world of Anglo-Saxon England meets the mysterious world of myths and legends, gods and monsters our ancestors believed in.


This is the world as it might have been had those stories been true…


Read an excerpt here. This is the moment that Anna blows the horn for the first time:


“What is it?” Anna asked, moving forward so she also could get a look. Ellette turned towards her and held up her hands. Cradled within them was an object so beautiful that Anna felt as if she would cry just looking at it. It was shaped like an ox horn, like those the villagers used to drink mead and ale from, but made of solid gold. Its outer surface bore runes and etchings, shapes and patterns. Anna recognised a wild boar - the symbol of the goddess Freya, the spear of Woden and the hammer of  Thunor, the god of thunder.

“It is wonderful,” she said.

“Yes, and worth a pretty sum,“ Lar added, his own eyes full of wonder but also tinged with a  touch of greed.

“What...what does it sound like?” Hild asked.

Ellette shrugged and then, raising it to her own lips took a deep breath and blew.

Anna frowned. Because nothing happened. Not a sound, not a note.

“You are not blowing it hard enough, little elf,” Lar said and snatched it off the girl and tried himself. Again nothing occurred. Not even a peep. Lar blushed and handed it to Wilburh who was grinning.

“You think you are so smart, with all your magic and tricks, you try!”

Wilburh gulped, tried and failed.  Hild gave it a go and then passed it at last to Anna.
“Look, it’s broken. Looks nice and all that but it is not meant to make a sound.” Anna said holding the horn in her hand but not trying it.

“Oh, give it a go Anna, why don't you,” Ellette said.

Anna shrugged and taking a deep breath blew hard.

The note that sounded from the horn seemed to start deep in the earth beneath her feet. No, Anna thought,  deeper even than that. It vibrated upwards from the very rocks and stones of Midgard. It grew louder and louder as it seemed to shake their bones and rise up through their bodies until it flew out into the air around them and echoed on and on through the skies, even upwards towards the heavens. As the notes died away they all heard something else - a word spoken by a voice just loud enough for them to hear, as if someone had uttered it from afar and it had been carried here on the wind. The word was “chosen”.

She took the horn away from her mouth and stared at it. The other children gawped at her and the horn too.

“Merciful Woden,” Lar said. “What was that?”

Before Anna could reply, the skies above them were shattered by a ferocious burst of light and a terrifying clap of thunder. A moment later the heavens opened and a torrential downpour started.




Five Stars:

Denning's characters come to life in this mythological adventure, the story of a 12 year old girl who finds a golden horn in the ruins of a Roman villa.



Review on Parents in Touch:

This gripping story for children of 8+ will appeal to lovers of several genres, including historical fiction, myths and fantasy. The historical background is vivid and informative and the characters true to period. The final section 'About the world of the Shield Maiden' gives an excellent background.


Review on The Write Path

The story line is great. I loved reading about this 7th century Saxon village and the destruction that was caused after the Romans left England. I also liked the mixing of mythology into the story.



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