Shadow on the Mountain

Shadow on the Mountain

by Margi Preus

Paperback(8-page insert of color photos)

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Shadow on the Mountain recounts the adventures of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen during World War II. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. Espen gets his start by delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains—and loses—friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden.

Preus incorporates archival photographs, maps, and other images to tell this story based on the real-life adventures of Norwegian Erling Storrusten, whom Preus interviewed in Norway.

Praise for Shadow on the Mountain


"Newbery Honor winner Preus infuses the story with the good-natured humor of a largely unified, peace-loving people trying to keep their sanity in a world gone awry. Based on a true story, the narrative is woven with lively enough daily historical detail to inspire older middle-grade readers to want to learn more about the Resistance movement and imitate Espen’s adventures."

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This engrossing offering sheds light on the Norwegians’ courage during World War II. Preus masterfully weds a story of friendship with the complications faced by 14-year-old Espen and his friends as Nazi restrictions and atrocities become part of their everyday lives...This is at once a spy thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a chronicle of escalating bravery. Multidimensional characters fill this gripping tale that keeps readers riveted to the end."

School Library Journal, starred review

"A closely researched historical novel... relates this wartime tale with intelligence and humor...Ms. Preus deftly uses together historical fact (Espen is based on a real-life spy) and elements of Norwegian culture to conjure a time and place not so terribly long ago."

The Wall Street Journal

"Margi Preus, who won a Newbery honor for Heart of a Samurai, returns with another riveting work of historical fiction... This fine novel, which includes an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography and even a recipe for invisible ink, is based on extensive research... The result is an authentic coming-of-age story, perfect for readers fascinated by the diary of Anne Frank or Lois Lowry’s classic, Number the Stars."


"The final chapters, which chronicle Espen’s dramatic escape to Sweden—days and nights of mountain skiing, Nazis in hot pursuit—take the book into adventure-thriller territory without losing the humanity that characterizes Preus’s account."

The Horn Book Magazine

"Preus makes crystal clear the life imperiling risks that Espen undertakes and the danger to his family."

—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"As readers understand the risks that Espen took, they will want to learn more about this period. That Espen escaped to Sweden by traveling at night on skis with five different guides should intrigue them.”

—Library Media Connection


VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2012 list

2013 Notable Books for a Global Society

Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419711596
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 03/18/2014
Edition description: 8-page insert of color photos
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 329,139
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Margi Preus is an acclaimed children’s book author and playwright whose first novel, Heart of a Samurai, earned a 2011 Newbery Honor award. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota. Visit her online at

Customer Reviews

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Shadow on the Mountain 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. It was great. Its all about when the Nazis took over Norway
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Espen, a teenager during WWII is a idealistic Norwegian boy, one who will do anything to thwart the Nazi's. He begins by delivering illegal newspapers, then progressing to a courier and then spy. The book spans a period, the length of the Nazi regime in Norway.I think this is a book that will appeal to a pre-teen audience. It has adventure, and explores the question of friendship through adversity. I thought it was poorly written at times, the author skipped around, jumped in time and provided little information about the in-between times. The author also used multiple points of view, which was distracting at times. Despite its flaws, I did find the book interesting and the characters endearing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super super good i wish you made a new one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shadow on the mountain is a story in 1940, a neutral and peace-loving country of only three million people, are completely unprepared when the country is suddenly invaded by Nazi Germany. The Nowegians scramble to organize a military response, then with their allies they put up a fight. But then their allies withdrew from Norway, taking the people's hope of driving out the Germans. A Resistance was formed almost immediately. One year later, a fourteen year old boy named Espen delivers elligal newspapers, he then starts delivering coded messages and supplies to others in the Resistance, and then Espen becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. But Espen and his family begin to question the loyalties of the people around them. This story shows that,bad things can stop us but they can't stop us from living our lifes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book and i really like it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a okay book
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
Shadow on the Moun­tain by Margi Preus is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion novel which com­fort­ably fits in the YA cat­e­gory. This is a well researched and excit­ing book despite its intended audience. Nazi Ger­many has swept through Nor­way, unseat­ing the sit and gov­ern­ment. Espen, a 14 year old Nor­we­gian boy, decided to join the resis­tance move­ment and starts by deliv­er­ing ille­gal news­pa­pers, grad­u­ates to courier and finally is sent to spy on the Nazis. Dur­ing the Nazi régime, which lasted five years, Espen grows phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally, falls in love and loses friends. How­ever, the life of a spy is in con­stant dan­ger and Espen makes a mis­take which forces him to flee his beloved coun­try in a dan­ger­ous trek through the moun­tains to Sweden. Shadow on the Moun­tain by Margi Preus takes place in Nor­way dur­ing World War II and fol­lows the adven­tures of a boy named Espen. As any good his­tor­i­cal fic­tion novel, the book com­bines actu­ally his­tor­i­cal events while explor­ing the emo­tional nature which these events caused. Nor­way was an impor­tant tar­get for the Nazi régime, not because of it is strate­gi­cally impor­tance, but because of their Aryan look. Hitler clearly hoped to "marry" Ger­many and Nor­way in order to pro­duce his vision of the ulti­mate mas­ter race (blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin). How­ever, many Nor­we­gians were against every­thing the Nazis stood for and resisted bravely. One inter­est­ing aspect of the book is that Ms. Preus takes pains to explore those Nor­we­gians who sup­ported the Nazis. From bul­lies who found their place among the Nazis, to Nor­we­gians who believed they were pick­ing the less of two evils (being con­quered by Nazi Ger­many or Soviet Rus­sia) and oth­ers who sim­ply wanted to get a few extra rations for their families. The novel runs through­out World War II, each chap­ter fol­lows the life of four char­ac­ters, Espen, who is the main pro­tag­o­nist, and his sis­ter Ingrid, Espen's friend Kjell, and Askel the neigh­bor­hood bully. Each year which is doc­u­mented is intro­duced with a rel­e­vant quote, either by a Nazi or an anti-Nazi Nor­we­gian. The quote gives the reader a sense of what to expect from the chap­ter ahead. While the story is about young men in times of great chal­lenges, the author does not look down on its audi­ence, but pro­duced an edge-of-your-seat, well researched and doc­u­mented work which has lessons rel­e­vant to today's tur­bu­lent times. Ms. Preus also incor­po­rated a pro­nun­ci­a­tion guide (really, how do you pro­nounce Kjell?), a brief and rel­e­vant his­tory of the era and more. I read a proof but I under­stand that the fin­ish prod­uct will incor­po­rate pho­tos, maps and archival documents.