Excerpt from The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Sea of Trolls

by Nancy Farmer

The Sea of Trolls
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 480 pages
    May 2006, 480 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter Three
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 died down, but he felt violently sick to his stomach. He heard the Bard move around, and presently, the hearth burst into light. In a very short time he was handed a cup of hot liquid. It hurt his mouth and he recoiled.

"You bit through your lip, child. It isn't as bad as it looks. The drink will make it better."

Jack managed to swallow, and the sickness went away. He found himself trembling. Perhaps he'd been trembling all along. He couldn't remember. "Is that -- is that how -- you destroy your enemies?" he stammered.

The Bard sat back. "One of the ways," he said.

"So that was...magic."

"Some call it so," said the Bard.

"Will you teach me how to do it?"

"By Thor's bushy beard! I almost killed you, and the first thing you want to know is how to do it."

"W-Well, sir, I am your a-apprentice."

"And a right cheeky one too. Most boys would have run home to their mothers after what you just experienced. Still, curiosity is a great thing. We two might just get along."

Jack felt a kind of warm sleepiness pass over him. The pain was still there, but it seemed unimportant. "What happened to you, sir?"

"That was a Nightmare, lad. Pray you never meet one."

"You mean, a bad dream?"

"I mean a Nightmare. It's far worse."

Jack wanted to ask more, but he was too comfortable. He yawned broadly, stretched out on the floor, and fell asleep.

When he awoke, he was lying outside on a bed of heather. He struggled to get up. "Rest a while, lad," said the Bard. He was sitting on a stool next to the door. His white beard and cloak shone against the weathered house. "Ah, sunlight," the old man said with a contented sigh. "It heals the terrors of the night."

"The Nightmare?" Jack said. His mouth hurt, and his speech was oddly slurred.

"Among other things," said the Bard. Jack felt his lip and found, to his horror, that it was as swollen as a mushroom after rain. "You wouldn't make a bad-looking troll at the moment," the old man remarked.

Jack remembered the words the Bard had cried out in his sleep. "Have you truly seen one, sir?"

"Oh, yes. Dozens. Most are quite pleasant, although they take getting used to. The ones you have to watch out for are the half-trolls. There's no describing how nasty they can be. Or deceitful. They're shape-shifters, and when they appear human, they're so beautiful that you can't think of a single sensible thing around them."

"Did one of them send the Nightmare?" said Jack.

"One of them rode it. Look, my boy, I was trying to protect you from certain things until you were older. But I may not have the time. Lately, I've felt a darkness over the sea. She's searching for me, you see. I can hide from her in the daytime. At night my guard is down, and she knows it."

Copyright © 2004 by Nancy Farmer

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.