Shadow  on the Mountain


April 9, 1940:

Peace-loving Norway is invaded by Nazi Germany. Although unprepared for an invasion, the Norwegian military puts up a valiant fight for several weeks before  disbanding. The King and parliament escape to England. Now the Nazis are fully in control.

Or are they. . .?

Watch the trailer here:


Shadow on the Mountain

A Novel Inspired by the True Adventures of a Wartime Spy

Amulet Books

cover art by Yuko Shimizu

    Fourteen-year-old Espen and his friends are swept up in the resistance movement in Nazi occupied Norway. He gets his start delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier, and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years of 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 over the mountains to Sweden.

    The story is based on real events and the experiences of real people. The book contains photos, maps, and archival material.

featured on James Patterson’s readkiddoread

Ultimate Summer Reading List - check it out!


* 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. . .Preus aptly celebrates the determination of ordinary citizens in this book.  ---School Library Journal (starred review)

How could anyone sympathize with the Nazis, today's child might ask? Well, people did, and Ms. Preus, who wrote beautifully about 19-century Japan and America in "Heart of a Samurai" (2010), 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. ---  Wall Street Journal

* 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. . .  Preus also incorporates a Norse myth about Odin to shed light on what it means to be wise, the possibility of knowing too much and how to resist shadowing the mountain of hope. . . A morally satisfying page turner.  --- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Read about it on Anita Silvey’s Book-a-Day Almanac. Here: Anita’s Picks 2012

Read more about the real life Erling Storrusten here:



Awards and Honors

New in 2016

Rebecca Caudill Award nominee

Nutmeg Book Award Nominee


ALSC Tweens Recommended Reading List

Bank Street College Best Books

Notable Books for a Global Society

Dorothy Canfield Fisher List

Young Hoosier Award List

Judy Lopez Memorial Honor

VOYA Top Shelf for MG Readers

Jeannette Fair Memorial Award

Kirkus Best of