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 that follows in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings.
Other threats include a willful mother Dragon, a giant spider, and a troll-boar with a surprising personality -- to say nothing of Ivar the Boneless and his wife, Queen Frith, a shape-shifting half-troll, and several eight foot tall, orange-haired, full-time trolls. But in stories by award-winner Nancy Farmer, appearances do deceive. She has never told a richer, funnier tale, nor offered more timeless encouragement to young seekers than "Just say no to pillaging."
The Shadow Across The Water
Jack sat up abruptly. The wind was howling outside. The house held the deep chill that seeped into it before dawn.
"No...I won't do it...it's evil..."
Jack threw back the covers and stumbled to the other end of the house. The Bard's bed was shaking. He saw the old man thrust up his hand as though warding something off. "Sir! Sir! Wake up! Everything's all right." He caught the Bard's hand.
"You won't bend me to your will! I defy you, foul troll!"
Something -- some terrible force -- flung the boy back. His head banged against the stone, and his ears rang as though a blacksmith were pounding on an anvil. He tasted blood.
"Oh, my stars, child! I didn't know it was you."
Jack tried to speak, choked on blood, and coughed instead.
"You're alive, thank Freya! Stay here. I'll build up the fire and make you a healing drink."
The ringing in Jack's ears ...
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was originally compiled on the orders of King Alfred the Great in
approximately A.D. 890. It was subsequently maintained
and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the
middle of the 12th Century. If you have any interest in British history it's
worth skimming the version at Project Guttenberg (which is
compiled from about 8 distinct versions of the Chronicle), if only to read the entries for such well
known dates as 1066.
Some people believe that the nursery rhyme, 'Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water....' comes from a Norse legend ...
If you liked The Sea of Trolls, try these:
Master storyteller Joanne Harris has created a magical and epic romp a fresh, funny, and wonderfully irreverent new take on the old Norse tales, sure to be enjoyed by readers young and old.
Young Twig has always longed to soar above the forest canopy and explore the sky. Now a crew member on a sky pirate ship his dream seems fulfilled, but the sky city they're headed for is at the point of disaster. Is it Twig's destiny to save it? Ages 10+.
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