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Raven Speak

Raven Speak

For Ages: 12 and up
Asa is the daughter of a Viking chief whose clan is struggling to survive a never-ending winter. All the able-bodied men head to sea in search of food, leaving behind the children, the elderly, the sick—and Jorgen the skald, the wise man who will stop at nothing to take over the clan. When Asa learns the skald wants to kill and eat her beloved horse, she runs away. But then she meets a strange woman who talks to her two pet ravens, and who warns Asa she’ll have to make a great sacrifice to save her clan. Now Asa must face the biggest challenge of her life in this eerie, absorbing adventure tale.
Choose a format:
  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442402492 | 
  • April 2010 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile 900
List Price $8.99

Read an Excerpt


In the pale light of a wintry morning seven men saddled their ship across bucking white waves. A girl stood alone on the shore. Stiff and silent, with her fingers clenched into fists and her eyes creased into flashing slivers of blue ice, she watched them go. The others of her clan, those that still lived at least, had long since shouted their fare-you-wells. But they’d left their crumbs of hope at the ocean’s edge to shuffle back to the village, slump-shouldered and spiritless. The girl remained, staring rigidly at the horizon.

As dawn edged across the ponderous gray sky, the ship grew smaller and smaller.... see more

Frost still rimed the wood planks of the byre door as Asa looped her fingers into the knothole. She threw her weight back in a succession of short jerks and it gradually came open, its cold hinges shrieking complaint.

A sour odor wrinkled her nose as she led Rune down the earthen ramp and into the dark, windowless shelter. None of the animals there greeted them; the cow merely flicked an ear, while her father’s two horses swung their heads round for just a moment’s dull gaze. Such a difference in a matter of months.

At summer’s end, as was the custom, all of the clan’s livestock had... see more

Jorgen held the smile on his face because she was looking at him and because it masked his real feelings. They were irritatingly strong feelings, feelings he couldn’t quite control, and so he made himself smile while he sat thinking. And listening, always listening. And rocking.

She didn’t fear him. That’s what annoyed him the most. The others, even her pigeon-chested father, the clan’s chieftain, could be made to move aside with a dark glance. It was a precious art, one he’d been polishing for many years now, and he wasn’t about to let some child—a girl, no... see more


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About the Author

Diane Lee Wilson
Photograph courtesy of the author

Diane Lee Wilson

Diane Lee Wilson is the author of Black Storm Comin’ (which won a Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile, was a Booklist Editors’ Choice, a VOYA Top Shelf fiction pick, a Notable Social Studies book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon book, and a Book Links Lasting Connection), Firehorse (which was a Booklist Top Ten Mystery/Suspense pick and an ALA Amelia Bloomer Project pick), RavenSpeak, and Tracks. She lives in Escondido, California. Visit her online at




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