Saint Magnus, the Last Viking
Publisher: Seven Swords Publications
Publication Date: 2015-11-16
Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
Catholic novelist Susan Peek is a wife, mother of eleven children, and a Third Order Franciscan. Her passion is writing novels of little-known saints and heroes, especially for teens and young adults (and anyone young at heart). She is an active member of the Catholic Writers' Guild, teaches creative writing in her spare time, and is currently continuing work on her series "God's Forgotten Friends: Lives of Little-known Saints." Susan Peek's books include "Saint Magnus,The Last Viking," which was awarded the Catholic Writers' Guild Seal of Approval in June 2015, "A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of St. Camillus de Lellis," having gone through three editions and translated into Spanish, and "Crusader King", which made it onto the list of the Top 50 Most Popular Homeschooling Books in 2013. All of her books have been implemented into the curriculum of numerous Catholic schools worldwide and continue to be a favorite with young adults and homeschooling families everywhere.
Saint Magnus, the Last Viking is a page-turner sure to please teens and adults who enjoy high stakes adventures. I found the story especially fascinating because it’s inspired by real historical figures, including a saint I’d never heard of before. I was hooked from the first page and didn’t want to put the book down. The only reason I’m not giving this novel five stars is because of the use of modern language and expressions. It took me a while to realize that the author did this intentionally, I assume to make the story more appealing to teen readers. But the technique sometimes pulled me out of the story. Even so, I still recommend this as an engaging, informative read.
Susan Peek’s inspired account of the life of Saint Magnus stirs up the desire to live as he did, with courage, perseverance, and brotherly love, faithful to God to the end. Peek has taken the life of this little-known saint whom time may have forgotten and whose story could’ve remained hidden, and she’s re-presented it to the modern Christian.
St. Magnus is one of three books in Susan Peek’s series – Gods forgotten friends. First of all, where were these books when my own kids were learning about saints? This is just such a great idea, sharing the stories of little known saints in exciting novels based on their lives.
Susan Peek did a masterful job of bringing to life this saint from the early 1100’s, and giving the reader an exciting look into the Viking way of life. Ms. Peek has woven the facts surrounding St. Magnus into a wonderful story that makes him real and relatable while dropping the reader in the middle of a dramatic period of history. I especially loved Magnus, his brother Aerling, and their relationship.
This teen book is equal parts geography, history, and theology lessons in a thoroughly engaging fictional story. I found it so compelling and interesting that when I finished the book I began researching St. Magnus wanting to know even more about this saint that I’d never heard of. I think any teen would enjoy this book but boys especially will love the adventure, danger and action that drives this novel.
"In many chapels, reddened by the setting sun, the saints rest silently, waiting for someone to love them."
These beautifully poetic words, written long ago by an anonymous priest, serve as an introduction to Saint Magnus, The Last Viking, a book in Susan Peek's series on little-known saints. Upon reading this quote, my interest was instantly piqued, and I turned the page to begin the story. The more I read on, the more I became convinced that this book was not only good, but important. As indicated on the back cover, it is geared towards teens (although relevant for all ages). With an engaging style that prompts you to turn the page, not to mention captivating adventure and suspense, this volume will undoubtedly capture the attention of young people with the misconception that learning about saints is "boring". Peek's choice to tell the story through narrative form rather than a textbook approach was also apt. I found myself, as an adult, wanting to soak up every historical detail while following the characters (or, in this case, real life people) in their compelling and, at times, heart-wrenching, journey.
I highly recommend this enthralling narrative that brings to life the world and life of an incredible, holy boy who became a courageous saint. Two thumbs up!