Reader Reviewed Thorfinn and the Gruesome Games by David MacPhail

Thorfinn and the Gruesome Games

Written by David MacPhail
Illustrated by Richard Morgan
Part of the Young Kelpies: Thorfinn the Nicest Viking Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Thorfinn is a charming boy, polite, tidy and he makes a lovely cup of tea. Unfortunately, he’s a Viking and this particular skill set doesn’t do anything to impress his family or neighbours – in the words of Erik Ear-Crusher, his dad’s arch rival for chief, ‘he has all the fighting spirit of a plate of boiled turnips’. But Thorfinn is smart as well as nice, and when he’s sent on a raiding mission proves that he more than deserves his place. Thorfinn’s politeness in the face of the Viking’s terrible behaviour provides lots of laughs and his eventual triumph is very satisfying for readers. Packed with illustrations and a whole host of extras too – games and activities – this is a very good addition to the canon of silly Viking stories for young readers. ~ Andrea Reece

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read Thorfinn and the Awful Invasion. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Elliot Bateman - 'This book is for anybody Age 6 and over to read themselves and for younger children to have read to them at bedtimes. There are even games at the back of the book to help you learn about Vikings.'
  • George Daniels, age 7 - 'A thrilling novel. The best I’ve read. My mum couldn’t believe I read it in one day.'
  • Phoenix Williams, age 7 - 'I think this book is better for learners and children who like adventurous stories. If I could give it 1 to 5 stars I would give it 5 stars.'
  • Tomasz Hawryszczuk, age 10 - 'Thorfinn really is the nicest Viking ever! He goes on an adventure but instead of raiding a village, he comes back with a basket full of scones with jam! Really great story with good humour.'
  • Oliver Lonsdale, age 7 - 'A slight twist on your usual Viking story, kept me on my toes.'
  • Harry Gray, age 7 - 'I really really enjoyed this book.  Thorfinn the napkin folder is a hero and the book is hilarious.  I also liked the extras at the end of the book.'
  • James Henderson, age 9 - 'This is a great story if you like Vikings. I really want to read the next book.'
  • Matthew Henderson, age 9 - 'I thought this was a really clever story, the characters were good and the story made me chuckle!'
  • Georgie Chaplin - 'It's so good I could just ask for more!'
  • Connor Lobban, age 7 - 'Great book for learning about Vikings!'
  • Luke Killen, age 7 - 'A really funny book, I loved this!'
  • Hermione Chaytors, age 6 - 'Funny, funny, funny...'



Thorfinn and the Gruesome Games by David MacPhail

Prepare yourself for the wrath of the Norsemen! That is, if you don't mind and it's not too inconvenient...Everyone knows Vikings are ruthless barbarians whose idea of a good time involves pillaging, plundering and feasting. But Thorfinn is no ordinary Viking! He is always polite and happily offers to wash the dirty dishes. Too bad his dad is Harald the Skull-Splitter, Village Chief and the roughest and toughest Viking of them all. Harald, Thorfinn and the other Vikings are preparing to compete in the annual Gruesome Games, held on the Scottish island of Uraig. It falls to Thorfinn to save their village, but in a competition where belching, axe-throwing, pie-clobbering and goat-throwing are great point scorers, what help will a terribly nice Viking with a talent for baking be?

About the Author

David MacPhail

David MacPhail left home at eighteen to travel the world and have adventures. After working as a chicken wrangler, a ghost-tour guide and a waiter on a tropical island, he now has the sensible job of writing about yetis and Vikings. At home in Perthshire, Scotland, he exists on a diet of cream buns and zombie movies. David is also the author of Yeti on the Loose and the Thorfinn the Nicest Viking series. Richard Morgan is a professional illustrator who lives in Cambridge, England.

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Book Info


136 pages
Interest Age: From 6


David MacPhail
More books by David MacPhail


Kelpies an imprint of Floris Books

Publication date

20th August 2015




Publisher Profile

Kelpies an imprint of Floris Books is an imprint of Kelpies


Floris Books celebrate quality children’s books with brilliant authors, engaging stories and a Scottish twist! They create books that capture children’s imaginations at all ages. Under 6s will have loads of fun with Picture Kelpies picture books, 9 to 12-year-olds will be whisked away by Kelpies and young teens will be gripped by KelpiesTeen novels.

Follow @DiscoverKelpies on Twitter or find them on Facebook at

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