In 1940, the German army invades Norway and 12-year-old Peter Lundstrom's life is changed forever. His father is the local banker and his Uncle Victor is captain of a sea-worthy fishing boat. They, along with the other leaders of their community, conspire to aid Norway by smuggling over nine million dollars worth of the country's gold bullion to America, where it will be safely kept out of the hands of the German army. But first they must get the gold from the town bank down the snow-covered mountainside to the fjord (a narrow inlet of the sea) below where Victor's fishing boat awaits its valuable cargo. It is up to Peter and the other children of the town to take to their sleds and sneak the gold brick-by-brick past German sentries.
The Germans think the children look innocent enough, but one soldier, who speaks Norwegian, seems aware that some plan is afoot. Peter must create a diversion in order to keep the Germans from discovering the entire plot and he is captured in the process. His only hope for escape lies with his Uncle Victor and a soldier dressed as a German, who might just be on the side of Norway.
Snow Treasure is based on events that were said to have actually taken place during World War II. The book includes a brief account of a Norwegian freighter that arrived in Baltimore in 1940 with a cargo of gold bullion, reputedly smuggled past the Germans by children on their sleds. From this rumor, Mary McSwigan tells a riveting tale of adventure and courage that gives young readers a taste of life inside the Artic circle, and simultaneously teaches an exciting history lesson.