Sam Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen by Jordan Jacobs
Book 2 in the Samantha Sutton series is a brilliant blend of archeology, history, action, adventure, mystery, and fun. Jacobs writes compelling action, heart palpitating danger and an entwined history and present in a delightful way for any reader regardless of age. The Winter of the Warrior Queen is not merely a mystery or history, it’s a coming of age story as well, as much about a young girl finding herself and navigativing the shades of gray of life as anything else. With parents who don’t understand her, an uncle who can’t manage to keep her safe, and an archnemesis by the age of 12, Samantha has a lot to contend with.
Throughout the book there is a constant juxtaposition between civilization and nature and the interesting reversal of expectations that Jacobs presents with civilization often times being the more barberous setting. This juxtaposition is one of my favorite topics of thought so I really reveled in the experience of this book.
And I haven’t even mentioned Boudica yet. I’m a medievalist (my masters is in medieval history and literature with an emphasis on gender) so when someone says Boudica, I practically become Pavlov’s dog hearing a bell. Immediately you have my attention. For Sam Sutton, Boudica becomes this icon —the very image of what women could be, both warrior and queen, leader and hero, rebel and last bastion of a way of life. Interestinly, she is contrasted with the masculine ways of Cambridge and it’s boy-centric anti-girl society as well as the mighty Rome (again can we talk about which is more barbaric?!). When I wrote history papers, I always used to dedicate the papers to my sisters, “that they may always have strong women to look up to.” Boudica is a strong woman and I’m glad to see her story being told to an audience who could use such an example.
Lastly, there is this question of traditions not needing a reason. In the book, it’s an excuse for excluding women, but it poses an interesting question. What traditions, particularly at this time of year do we perform without a reason?
I love books that make me think like this, that make me question civilization and nature and tradition. That being said, a younger me would have loved this book too. Sam Sutton is one part Nancy Drew, one part Bones, and one part Goosebumps, and I highly recommend it for readers of all ages!
Get your copies of Samantha Sutton and the Labrynth of Lies and Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen today!
I’m also delighted that I got to have Jordan Jacobs on the blog to answer a quick Fast Five for us! He’s got some GREAT answers and one of my favorite christmas songs to boot!
1. Favorite Word?
“Thicket.” (Could there be a more satisfying word to say?)
Least Favorite Word?
“Mealy.” (Ugh. It’s even unpleasant to type!)
2. Favorite Sound?
My toddler daughter’s wonderfully frequent belly laughs.
3. What profession other than author would you like to attempt?
4.Favorite historical item?
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cuneiform tablets I saw on display at Istanbul’s Museum of the Ancient Orient. I’m a sucker for any ancient text—the more mundane the better. What were people thinking about 3300 years ago? Same things we do, it turns out. Taxes, petty disputes, love.
5. If there was a theme song for Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen what would it be?
I tend to listen to music when I write – especially when I edit. Movie soundtracks work well, and so does classical guitar. But there are some times where I need a region-specific playlist to keep the spirit of the setting in mind.
For my first book, Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies, it was Andean folk music. My limited knowledge of the genre made song selection easy. But for a book set in England, how to even begin? Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen takes place in the present and explores events that occurred two thousand years ago, giving me centuries of British music to work with: from Handel to the Stones, from the Beatles to Purcell.
What worked was a little bit of everything.
Recent British music brings me back to my time in the UK– to the college bops, society swaps, cheesy nightclubs and fun, frenetic London. But, in writing, I leaned mostly on the Anglican choral tradition - the most English of English music, at least for me. I used to love attending Evensong services at Oxford and Cambridge, and hearing that music today puts me again in those hard-backed pews.
And as for a specific song? Modern software makes this easy, tracking the number of plays. The winner, it seems, was Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter—an English poem set to music by an English composer. It’s haunting, it’s beautiful, and it’s sad—the perfect theme song for the Warrior Queen’s quieter moments.
Thanks so much Jordan for stopping by! Come back anytime you’d like!
To all my lovely V.V. readers, If you haven’t heard In the Bleak Midwinter before check it out here and be sure to pick up Samantha Sutton and the Labrynth of Lies and Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen for yourself or those young readers of yours for Christmas!