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The Sea of Trolls (Sea of Trolls Trilogy) [Paperback]

Nancy Farmer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 April 2005 Sea of Trolls Trilogy
Jack is an apprentice bard and just beginning to learn the secrets of his mysterious master, when he and his little sister are captured by Viking chief, Olaf One-Brow, and taken to the court of Ivar the Boneless. Ivar is married to a half-troll named Frith, an evil and unpredictable queen with a strange power over her husband's court. Jack is sent on to the kingdom of the trolls, where he has to find the magical well and undo the charm he has cast on Frith. He is accompanied by Thorgill, a shield maiden, aged 12, who wants to be a berserker when she grows up. Together, they are set for a magical and exciting adventure.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's; New edition edition (4 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068986096X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689860966
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 388,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Nancy Farmer’s new novel is a big, energetic, magical and breathtaking volume--a sweeping Viking adventure set in AD 793 that is rich in excitement and adventure, and which manages also to be quite funny at the same time. Farmer is a three-time Newbery Honor author in her native United States and her pedigree as a fine author is very apparent here. There’s marauding, sea-faring, kidnapping, beserking, dragon-bashing, magic and battle throughout.

Jack is a Saxon boy, apprenticed to the local bard and on the brink of harnessing his inherent magical abilities. Disaster strikes when he and his little sister Lucy are hauled away from their home in the North of England by a villainous-looking crew of Viking Berserkers led by Olaf One-Brow. Jack begins by hating his captors, for their cruelty and brutal way of living life. He is oppressed in every way, and thoroughly despised by a Viking girl in the raiding party called Thorgil who seems hell-bent on nothing more than dying a glorious death in war and ascending to Valhalla.

Jack and Lucy are hauled in front of King Ivar the Boneless and Queen Frith--a half troll with a fearsome temper--who is angered beyond measure when one of Jack’s spells causes her hair to fall out. Leaving his sister behind as a potential sacrifice, Jack must undertake a dangerous quest to the land of the Trolls in Jotunheim to seek Mimir’s Well and extract from it the elixir that could reverse his calamitous spell. There is substantial excitement and drama along the way.

It’s difficult not to be entertained by everything within these 450 pages plus. The novel encompasses such great themes, speeding the reader through fascinating Scandinavian mythology, and at the end it’s impossible to let go. Reassuring, there’s a sequel in the making. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


UK Praise for The Sea of Trolls: "excellent...delving into Norse history and folklore and then weaving them together into one imaginative whole." The Independent "Nancy Farmer's love of Norse mythology shines through in this wonderful fantasy about an apprentice bard who is captured by Norsemen...Teeming with references to myth, folklore and saga, from Beowolf to Jack and Jill, this book manages to be both erudite and entertaining. Characters are fully fleshed out and likable, down to the craziest berserker and ugliest troll. Its broad appeal and the timeless quality of Farmer's prose should ensure that The Sea of Trolls reaches the wide readership that it deserves." Inis Magazine "For those in search of a big, fat novel that never lets up in excitement or action, look no further than Nancy Farmer's SEA OF TROLLS. Mixing medieval history with fable and magic, it tells the story of the apprentice Jack and his mysterious bardic master... This narrative compels because of the matter-of-fact way it describes the wonders Jack encounters, from Troll queens to dragonlets out to murder each other in the nest. A consistent prize-winner in America, Farmer deserves to do equally well here." Nick Tucker, The Independent "The characters were wonderful and the story a really good adventure. I liked the contrasts of culture and Jack's constant battle with himself over his feeling towards his captors. I loved the different landscapes and the real feel you got for the living conditions and in particular the foods! Every bit as well written as 'House of the Scorpion', I have to admit I thought this was better. It had a better pace to it and there was more vibrancy to the people and places. Great stuff!" - Cathy Petersen, YLG National Committee. USA Praise for The Sea of Trolls: - NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, January 05 "'The Sea of Trolls' blends ancient history and Norse epics with recognizable bits of 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings,' which makes sense, since both of those 20th century sagas owe a conspicuous debt to the mythology of northern Europe... Farmer practices her narrative arts with delightful ferocity. Her story snaps with humour and energy, blending poetry and unsentimental violence in passages that are as bracing as a slap. Her characters--even the mythical and animal ones--ache with longing and are overcome by bitterness and spite. Thus does Farmer shatter the museum glass of history and make her characters live and breathe...'The Sea of Trolls' conveys, more vividly than any text book, the vikings' storied fatalism, their devotion to heroic death and to a savage afterlife in Valhalla." -THE HORN BOOK [STAR], November/December issue, "Drawing upon history, Norse and Celtic myth, and Farmer's own abundant imagination, the story is long but engrossing...a most adroit fusion of the natural and supernatural worlds. The book is effectively sparing in its use of fantasy elements, but when Farmer pulls out all the stops...she does so with aplomb and assurance." -PARENTING MAGAZINE, (circ. 2.1 million), review, October, "A thrilling coming-of-age saga." -USA TODAY (circ. 2 million), featured in Fall preview, September 9, "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." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY [STAR], July 19, "Readers will want to sail through these nearly 500 pages to find out what happens to young Jack and his sister, Lucy..." -KIRKUS [STAR], September 15, "a hugely entertaining story sure to appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings." -SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL [STAR], October issue, "This exciting and original fantasy will capture the hearts and imaginations of readers." -BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS [STAR], November issue, "...Jack's medieval world envelops the reader from the first page...a tale of high adventure and exploration that reads with unexpected sensitivity, warmth, and humor." -KLIATT, September, "This is sure to be both popular and prize-winning...Every YA collection should have this." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY,October, " atmosphere so authentic that readers will feel steeped in the Anglo-Saxon culture."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best children's novel of 2004 5 Nov 2004
Alongside Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother, this gets my vote. It draws on the same sources as Tolkien, so readers shouldn't complain that bits of it are close to the Hobbit. Yes, it's a quest, and yes there's a wizard (or bard) and even a dragon and some spiders, but it's configured differently, by someone who has her own distinctive voice. (Incidentally, if you're 12+, check out House of the Scorpion, which is the best clone novel ever.) Jack and his irritating little sister Lucy are kidnapped by Vikings, just as Jack has begun to discover his powers as a Bard. His teacher, rendered witless by a Nightmare sent by evil Queen Frith, can't help him avoid being sold off as a thrall or slave by the ferocious Olaf One-Brow or sulky shieldmaiden Thorgill. Only Jack can - if he can pull the magic out of himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read Whatever Your Age 12 Jun 2005
By Phil X
This book came to my attention in The Times many months ago and I must admit to forgetting about it, until recently when I recognized it in an airport bookshop. Aimed at young adults, it is the story of Jack an apprentice bard's quest to return home. He is kidnapped early in the book by Vikings and taken back to their Fjord kingdom, where things are not as they should be. Jack is forced to undertake a quest with his captor, Olaf and a lonely shield maiden to resolve the problems and free his little sister. What comes across well in the book is the strong characterization. Good and evil are not as clear cut as they may at first seem, it is all a question of perspectives. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. If I have a criticism it is the speed with which we past through so many engagements with new personalities and places. I wanted to know more of the people and the complex Norse mythology, An easy read, but a good story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cross the sea 22 July 2005
Thrice honored by whoever awards the Newbery award, Nancy Farmer turns her attention from Africa to medieval Norway in "The Sea of Trolls." Weaving legends and fact together, Farmer crafts a thrilling, magical, and hugely entertaining story set in the old Norse legends.

Jack was thrilled when the Bard took him on as his apprentice, especially when the strange old man taught him to do magic -- or rather, to "use the life force." (Use the Force, Jack!) But his life is suddenly thrown into disarray when an evil Nightmare drives the Bard mad, and a band of berserkers captures Jack and his little sister Lucy. Now Jack is at the questionable mercy of Olaf One-Brow, who fortunately is pleased to have captured a skald (bard).

But things go wrong again as soon as they arrive at Olaf's home. The sullen shield-maiden Thorgil gives Lucy as a present to the half-troll queen Frith, who is initially pleased by the pretty little girl. But then Jack accidently says a spell that reveals the queen's true appearance (and it's not a pretty sight). Now the queen threatens to kill Lucy unless Jack goes to the legendary Mimir's well, and finds a way to reverse the spell. But Mimir's well lies in the middle of Jotunheim, a hideous wasteland full of trolls, dragons, carnivore plants and enormous beasts.

It's hard to find a fantasy as textured as this one is. Farmer weaves history (Viking berserkers and the destruction of the Holy Isle) with legends (Jotunheim, trolls, Norse gods and Yggdrasil), and never makes you suspend your belief that it could have been like this. Plus there's a bit of Irish druidry, all wrapped up in the growing friendship between the Bard and Jack. The book is worth reading alone for the Bard's insights into nature and happiness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 16 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love this series and will be recommending it to others I know. Really enjoyed the characters and the places in all of the books.
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