Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindensheild Wild cat of the North (yes that's her whole name) is just in her early teens and she has to lead the tiny kingdom of the Icemark against the huge army of the Polypontian Empire. This book explores the difficulties Thirrin has with holding off the huge army while gathering allies. And what allies they are! Werewolves, vampires and Huge leopards from the Far North.
Thirrin is the perfect war queen; she knows everything about battle and is a strong leader. However, she's still just a teenage girl and there are some points where you see the softer, more vulnerable parts of her between the whole fearless queen act.
The author, Stuart Hill, based many of the different groups off real ancient civilizations with a few tweaks. The Polypontian Empire resembles the Roman Empire most closely, except that they have muskets and cannons. The Icemark is based off of the Vikings. Their habits and way of life reflects the primitive lifestyle. This isn't to say that they are barbarians; the Icemark has their own special kind of dignity and Thirrin is a perfect example of that.
With the Polypontian Empire wielding weapons like muskets, you would think that the Icemark would be a total pushover. That seems the case until you realize that it is the early form of the musket which takes much longer to load and has a much shorter range than that of the longbow. Having flying, undead vampires and huge, extremely fast werewolves does help too. The Polypontian Empire believes in science and reasoning, so these "monsters" do help to frighten them a bit (well, maybe not just a bit, but you get my gist....)
This is an absolutely fantastic book. It has the best descriptions and once you factor in fantasy creatures, like werewolves, you just don't know what to expect. The storyline is very good.
It might not be a good book for younger readers, just because of the degree of violence, after all it's about a war. And the descriptions of the vampires hacking apart troops and drinking...well yeah I think you get it. It's still a fantabulous book and it's NOT just for girls. Yes, the main character is female, but I know a few of my MALE classmates that read it and thought it was a really good book.
I hope that you love this amazing book just as much as I did. :)