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The Sea of Trollsby Nancy Farmer
ALA Best Books For Young Adults
Kirkus Editor's Choice
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Finalist
PEN USA Literary Award Finalist
Publishers Weekly Best Books
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Synopses & Reviews
Jack was eleven when the berserkers loomed out of the fog and nabbed him. "It seems that things are stirring across the water," the Bard had warned. "Ships are being built, swords are being forged."
"Is that bad?" Jack had asked, for his Saxon village had never before seen berserkers.
"Of course. People don't make ships and swords unless they intend to use them."
The year is A.D. 793. In the next months, Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are enslaved by Olaf One-Brow and his fierce young shipmate, Thorgil. With a crow named Bold Heart for mysterious company, they are swept up into an adventure-quest in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings.
Award-winner Nancy Farmer has never told a richer, funnier tale, nor offered more timeless encouragement to young seekers than "Just say no to pillaging."
"Readers will want to sail through these nearly 500 pages to find out what happens to young Jack and his sister, Lucy, kidnapped from their homeland by a Viking crew led by Olaf One-Brow. The two then travel across the sea where Ivar the Boneless, king of the Northmen, reigns with his half-troll wife, Queen Frith. The Bard, who fled from Queen Frith and has taken refuge on the boy's small island ('Nowhere in the nine worlds is safe for me as long as she is abroad,' the Bard explains) takes in 12-year-old Jack as an apprentice. The old man manages to teach Jack some magic and some of the complex history of the Northmen and their enemies, the Jotuns or trolls, before Olaf and his men invade. The book brims with delectable details. Ivar the Boneless, for instance, 'wears a cloak made from the beards of his defeated enemies' and Queen Frith's beauty dissolves when Jack begins to sing a tribute to her ('Her features rippled and twisted like the beasts carved on the walls'). Her rage at reverting back to her troll-like appearance prompts Jack's quest to seek Mimir's Well, in the heart of Jotunheim (troll country) in order to reverse the spell and save his sister, whom Queen Frith threatens to sacrifice if her beauty is not restored. Plotting and incidental players such as dragons and giant spiders in Jotunheim take precedence over character development here. But if the relationships are not as fully fleshed out as in Farmer's previous books, fans of Viking and adventure tales will still be up late nights to discover Jack's fate. Ages 10-13." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Allusions to Beowulf, the destruction of the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, and the Norse legend of Jack and Jill offer a rich backdrop for a hugely entertaining story sure to appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings." Kirkus Reviews
"Farmer brilliantly marries historic details about life in England, Scotland and Scandinavia in A.D. 793 with the magic of runes, trolls and bards. This story will send readers on a quest to read more about this bloody but fascinating era." USA Today
"[A]n engaging tale....
"[S]hould instantly be added to the list of those books which leave an indelible mark on the imagination....[A] hair-raising, spine-tingling, heart-stopping adventure which really does bear comparison to The Hobbit....
"The book is effectively sparing in its use of fantasy elements, but when Farmer pulls out all the stops — such as Jack's encounter with the three Norns — she does so with aplomb and assurance." The Horn Book
"Farmer...has outdone herself in this rich and satisfying fantasy....The characters are memorable, her images of nature are lyrical, and legend, history, horror and humor are cleverly intermingled..." KLIATT
"The Sea of Trolls conveys, more vividly than any textbook, the vikings' storied fatalism....Hearing the Northmen talk rapturously about the glories of being slaughtered in battle, the sensitive Jack can't understand it, but the reader will." Lawrence Downes, The New York Times Book Review
"Farmer uses sensory detail to breathe reality into every segment of this book....[A] spectacular story of magical adventure." Children's Literature
"Readers captivated by slash-'em-up Viking culture will happily plunge into this celebrated author's sixth novel, but many members of Farmer's traditional audience will emerge from the experience feeling alternately dazzled and dazed." Booklist
The three-time Newbery Honor-winning author and National Book Award recipient pens a new adventure set in A.D. 793 in the land of the Vikings, where two children are soon swept up in a quest on which they encounter a dragon, a giant spider, and trolls.
After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.
About the Author
Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery Honor Books: The Ear the Eye and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which, in 2002, also won the National Book Award. Other books include Do You Know Me, The Warm Place, and three picture books for young children. She grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border, and now lives with her family in Menlo Park, California.
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