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The Sea of Trolls
Nancy Farmer
Children's Fiction FARMER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Young Jack, bard-in-training, is kidnapped and enslaved by a wild band of Viking raiders and must outwit his captors to save both himself and his sister. The Vikings' half-troll queen orders Jack on a quest to Troll-land, where he battles giant spiders, troll-bears, and a protective mother dragon to find the magical well that will restore the queen's beauty. Steeped in Norse mythology, this fantasy features grand themes: growing up, overcoming odds, and choosing good over evil. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Jack
Age: 11
Bard of his village makes him an apprentice; he and his sister are kidnapped and taken to King Ivar and his half-troll queen; one of his amateur spells causes the queen's hair to fall out; he is forced to take a dangerous quest across the Sea of Trolls to make things right.

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