Shield Maiden

By Stuart Hill

1. This book is set in the Anglo-Saxon times and is told from the point of view of the daughter of King Alfred, Aethelflaed. The story is about Aethelflaed. She wanted to become a shield maiden so she could fight in the war beside her father, King of Wessex. She was determined for her kingdom to win the battle. When she became a shield maiden she went to fight with the other part of the army, with Ethelred. She one day was told she should marry Ethelred. So, it soon turned into a story with a fairy-tale likeness to it.


The girl characters’ names mostly began with Aethel. I liked Aethelgifu because she loved her religion and I like my religion so I felt I could relate to her even though she lived in a different time. My favourite character was Aethelflaed who was the main character. I loved the way she was determined to win the battle. Edward also fought for the religion but Aethelflaed was more important so she fought next to Ethelred in the other part of the army. I also liked Mouse- the war dog who fought at Aethelflaed’s side because he turned from a small dog to a big war dog. Mouse’s story was like a metaphor for growing up, which I am doing as well as the characters in the book and this made me like it more.


The best part was reading about the biggest battle that the army of Wessex was              in, the language used made it feel like it was difficult, hard, scary and exciting          and I loved the outcome. I also loved the bit when Aethelflaed got Mouse although Edward was being mean. I loved the sound that tickled my ears when they were enjoying the sound of nature in the “garden”. I could hear the sound in my ears as though it was really happening beside me. I liked the bit where Aethelflaed and Edward went to fight for the first time but they came out covered in blood.  This picture was in my head for days later and kept me thinking about the book and how much I wanted to get back to it to find out how the story developed.

The History

I love history stories about war. It helps me learn for school about how battles happened between the Anglo Saxons and Vikings and were fought many years      ago. It was set in Anglo-Saxon times about a 1000 years ago. I learnt the fiction was that the book, which was written by an English author, showed the Saxons (who were English) as stronger and better, but I also learnt while reading about Vikings that they often were better and stronger than the Saxons.

The Language

The language in the book was not like the language these days, I think this          helped me feel like the story was really happening in a time long ago. The            sentence “Metal and metal and wood and wood” I didn’t like because in my opinion he used too many           ands and he could have used a wider vocabulary to help get his point across for example “metal and iron”, “wood and timber”. It was good to learn more words like: hovel, Xenophon, anabasis and burghs, you will have to look them up if you want to know what they mean!. The book showed me that English takes words from many other languages.   The book showed me this as the female names were really like Viking names and none that you hear today but the male names were like some that you hear today.

Would I recommend this book?

I would recommend this book not only because it is a very good story, but it also can help you learn. I really learnt about the Anglo-Saxons and it helped me with the Viking words. I would recommend it to 9 and over.   It has everything, exciting story, great characters, historic fiction, gory battles and I could relate to the main character as she was about my age.  It kept me thinking about it and I was always excited to get to read it and learn how all the characters turned out.

By Kaia

2. Yes I enjoyed it because it’s about Vikings and I really like Vikings because they are cool. I like the scene at the beginning were the king and knights were fighting in a battle. I think the history in the book was realistic because it was based on Vikings and kings and knights. Yes I do want to learn more about history. Yes I want to read more books by the author.

By  Ayde

3. I enjoyed the book because it taught me about the Danes and also because the people of Wessex never gave up and so in reward they got there kingdom back.

My favourite character is Ara because she was mysterious and brave like when she took the children to battle. Also because she made the children better people.

I think the history in the book was realistic, because I could imagine it happening all the way through.

The book made me want to find out about history because it was exiting, and interesting.

The book did make me want to read more by the Author.

By Martha

4. This book is about a young princess, Aethelflaed, who wants to become a shield maiden - a soldier who carries a shield in the Saxon army. At the beginning of the story the Danes, (the Vikings), attack the Saxons and the royal family have to escape and go into hiding. Whilst in hiding the king gathers every Saxon who survived and builds a new army to fight and win their kingdom back. Aethelflaed and Edward, her brother, also train for the army as fighting in the army is their dream. The story covers a few battles and eventually, with the help of the Mercians, the Saxons defeat their enemy. 

Overall I liked this book but I found the introduction confusing because there were unfamiliar words and I didn’t know there was a glossary at the back of the book. The royal children’s names were all very similar and confusing as well so I kept going to the beginning of the book which explained who was who. Once I got further into the book everything began to make sense and I enjoyed it. The adventure was exciting and there was even a touch of fighting magic! It was such a good story I didn’t know it was based on true events and characters so I learnt a lot about history without actually realising it!

At the beginning I found the fighting and blood gruesome but I grew into it and didn’t mind it later on because I know it’s impossible to have battles without blood and the author described it well so that I could imagine the scene. There’s a part in the book where Aethelflaed shouts “Don’t let them escape! Burn their ships! Burn their ships!” Just like Aethelflaed I didn’t realise it was her shouting and when I read it, I read it again because it was so surprising. It was surprising in a good way because it kept me engaged with the book. The author wrote from Aethelflaed’s point of view which fascinated me because it made me feel like I was with her.

My favourite character was cute Aethelfryth, the youngest royal child, because I could imagine everything she did clearer than others and I’m the youngest in my family! The scene I remember is on her return, she held her doll up to see the palace where they had been attacked. She might have done that because she was so excited to be back and felt like the doll was part of the family too.

I also liked Ara, the Saxon witch. She creeps up on the children like a predator catching its prey. Even though the author makes me think she is scary by her looks, he also shows us through her actions that deep inside she is loving and caring towards the Saxons and she is very loyal and uses her powers to help them win the war.

I would have liked to know more about Guthrum who leads the Danes. It would help me to imagine the view of the Danish army. All I know is that he is ugly but I’d like to know about his personality. If this book had been written from a Danish princess’ point of view I might not have enjoyed it as much as it would have had a sad ending. 

I would recommend this book for people aged 7 and up because children 6 and under might not understand the story and find it too violent. I rate this 4 out of 5 stars because it made history more fun and real!

By Mika

5. This is a wonderful book. I found it inspiring, because it has pushed me to learn more about the world at war.

My favourite character was Ava, because she was very brave and valiant- she fought against many men. My favourite location was the Marsh Lands, the author made it sound very mysterious and threatening- most of the story was set in this gloomy place.

I thought that the history in this book was realistic, and it made me feel like I wanted to learn more about history especially about life at war, because I don’t know much about this.

I’d love to read more books by this author, because I find them so interesting, whilst at the same time exciting and full of adventure.

My favourite part of the story is where Prince Edward found mouse the dog, on one of his daily walks in the forest of a thorn.  Edward took the mouse home and trained him to be a war dog, because their enemy the Danes have got a war dog. This idea was so ridiculous, it was funny.

By Sophie

6. This story is half story and half history.

It’s Rose’s mum’s wedding tomorrow but she can’t sleep, her Aunty Cosy has wandered off again. Rose finds her but this takes her into a mysterious world; at first, she thinks she’s in her London, at Clapham Underground, but is she? She seems to be inside Aunty Cosy’s memories – they travel back in time together and I travelled with them.

Will Rose find a way home in time for the wedding? Find out, you’ll enjoy the mystery and you’ll find out about London during the war at the same time.


This story is really good, really well written.  I enjoyed finding out about life during World War 2, particularly about being nervous in a bomb shelter. I’d love to have my own copy of this book and I’ll try to find more titles by Rebecca Stevens.

By Bella

7. A young girl who's king Dom is in terrible danger from the Saxon battlefield are

About to have war. After the last Christmas Day Aetheleflaed and her family went to the great hall. But suddenly out of nowhere guns shot out from behind. When king Alfred

8. Shield maiden is the best book I’ve read this year because it’s full of action all the time, it’s never boring. The book is about the Saxons and the Danish army fighting against one another. This book is in 1st person, it is narrated by the princess of King Alfred, and she is called Aethelfraed. I really like this book because I like historical fiction about battles. I love this book because I’m not a fan of girly books, I like more action packed books like this one. I think this book was realistic because they explained what they wore and what they did. I would definitely want to learn more about the Saxons and the Danish because I think it’s very interesting. My favourite part was when the Saxons and Danish were having a battle. Who do you think will win? You will have to read the book to find out!

By Elizabeth

9. Shield Maiden, written by Stuart Hill, is an incredibly detailed book that is really enjoyable. It’s in first person and in the mind of a girl, Aethelflaed. She is hiding in the marshes after an unexpected attack joined with her family, a wise servant and the remaining soldiers who have survived the first fight in Wessex.

I loved the first page or so of this story. It is packed with adventure and lots of description. It’s a little bit gory at the start but as it gets further into the story there is a break from battles and blood.  The first four pages explain the rivalry between the Danes and the Saxons.

I definitely recommend reading Shield Maiden because the adventure that unravels throughout the story is truly amazing and gripping. This un-put-down -able book is awesome and a great read. Make sure you read it!

By Lauren

10. I enjoyed the book because the fighting doesn’t come in straight away so the characters back story are described really well. It doesn’t make you want to skip pages to the fighting part. My favourite character is the main character and she is called Aethelflaed.I thought that the book seems realistic. I think that it is quite good so I would like to read more books from this author.  It is really interesting because I learnt about a part of history I have never studied before.

By Charlie

11. I have really enjoyed this book because of its rich history and the love that went into making this book. I loved the battles that were in the book, they were so interesting and thrilling to read about. I really believe this is an outstanding historical fiction novel.

The parts of the novel I especially liked were when Aethelflead found her new pet; a young, thin dog whom she named Mouse. Another thing I adored was when everyone went into battle. I liked those parts because of the emotion and devotion shown.

Characters that I really liked were Ara and the main character, Athelflead. These strong women are amazingly mysterious and independent. I truly believe they are an inspiration to other women and young girls. Both are what I believe to be remarkable.

Even though I liked the book, I didn’t think the history in the book was that accurate because of one thing – the book has a lot of magic involved. In those times, not many Saxons believed in magic. However, the book was really entertaining and I got so engrossed that I ignored it and everything around me.

This book has not made me want to learn more about history because I already love learning about history. However, Shield Maiden has  moved me and made me realise that history is better than I originally thought it was.

The book is excellent and I really doubt that this book could be improved. Edward (Aethelflead’s only brother) is a character that I especially enjoyed reading about. Edward is a really supportive prince who had an important role in the novel.

I recommended this book to my friend. I knew she would love to read it because she is a huge fan of the author. We have read it together.

By Eva

12. I have really enjoyed the Shield Maiden book because it is about history and I love history! There’s so much that you can learn about the Anglo-Saxon era from this book.

I really liked the part at the beginning when Edward and Athelflaed were joking about angels burping and Athelgifu was trying to stop them from saying that. Athelgifu ended up becoming my favourite characters because she is a very positive girl. Athelflaed and Edward are funny but there is a limit for funny and Athelgifu never crosses the limit.

I thought the history in the book was accurate because I have learnt about Anglo-Saxons in history lessons and I thought that the text was exactly like how it would have been in Anglo-Saxon times.

The book actually made me want to read and find out more about history because I found out things from this book that I didn’t know about the Anglo-Saxon era.

I think what the writer could have done better is included more speech from the characters because most of the story is just writing so sometimes it gets boring.

I would highly recommend this book to a friend in the future.

By Jesica

13. I think that Shield Maiden by Stuart Hill is a really incredible book. Stuart really used the fact that we don’t know much about the Saxons, to bring a new sort of book. Aethelflaed was a very brave women and was a great main character. Fighting for the Saxons must of been an amazing achievement for a woman in those days. My favourite part was when Ara was cheeky to the king. I like it because no one else would have had the nerve to do that. She was a very strong character but also a puzzling one.

I think my favourite character was Edward because in my head I could really imagine him wearing his royal Saxons outfit and being a fighter. Some of the battles where quite gruesome. I think the history in the book was very realistic. I think that Stuart Hill used what we do know about the Saxons, to create a really interesting plot.

 I don’t really want to find out more about the Saxons because this book has personally explained all I want to know about the Saxons. I do want to read more of Stuart Hills books, because I think that he is a very creative author. He uses history very well to create an amazing fiction book. I think this book was very set on the Royal Saxon family. In my opinion there could have been more characters but otherwise it was an amazing book!

By Margo

14. I liked Shield Maiden as parts of it were really dramatic and you didn’t know what was going to happen. Another good part of the book was it put two interesting parts of history into one book, the Saxons and the Vikings. My favourite character is Mouse as he starts as a cute little puppy and comes out as a strong fighting war dog who takes down anyone and everything in his way. I thought the history in the book was really realistic with fight after fight after fight. The only other thing I would say about this book is that I think the only obvious thing is that the Saxons always won the fights apart from at the start.

By Tom

15. I liked that the main character is a princess but she is not your typical princess that you find in stories; she is brave and wants to fight in the war, even though her father wants her to flee with her family. It was hard for me to decide whether or not the history was realistic or not in this book as I have not studied this era but I do know there were well-known female warriors around this time. The action scenes when they were in battle were incredibly realistic. I loved this book because it was about a strong female role-model.

By Atika

16. This is a great book because of the history – in Year 5 I enjoyed learning about the Anglo-Saxons. My favourite character is Aethelflaed because she is a brave and courageous girl; the description of her made me want to meet her. My favourite part was when King Alfred’s great hall is destroyed by the Danish army and the King has to move to a safe place with his family. However, his daughter knows that hiding in the marshes far from the battlefield is the last thing she wants to do. I liked the brave girl and think we need more historical books that show strong girls.

By Maryam

17. Shield Maiden is a historical fiction book when King Alfred’s Great Hall was destroyed by the Danish Army, the king must flee but his daughter Atheflaed knows that hiding in the marshes far away from the battle field is the last thing she wants to do. Atheflaed wants to fulfil her destiny to become a warrior princess or even a Shielf maiden.

My favourite character was Atheflaed because she was a strong, independent women and she is determined to become a warrior princess or even a Shield Maiden and she never gives up. I also liked how the Great Hall sounded, I particularly loved how it said in the event of the battle ‘The Danish Army marched over the land, rank on rank, in perfect steps, the shield’s lined up like the scales of a dragon!’

Shield maiden made me feel like I wanted to find out more about the Saxons and it made me feel like I found out more about the history of the Saxons. I think that the books history did sound realistic because it really described the action going on in the battle field and how it might have felt in the Saxons times. The book made me feel like I want to read more of the Stuart Hills book because it made me feel like I was in the saxon times. I would rate the book 5/5 stars because the dramas and suspenses were amazing.

By Renisa

18. I enjoy this book because it’s adventures and I love adventure stories. I like that its about the olden days because it could give you a clue about the olden days.

By Nora

Previous page     Next page