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Sunday, October 12, 2014

THE SEA of TROLLS (Sea of Trolls Trilogy #1) (audiobook) by Nancy Farmer

Published in 2004 by Recorded Books
Performed by Gerard Doyle
Duration: 13 hours, 51 minutes

Brilliantly read by Gerard Doyle, The Sea of Trolls is essentially the story of a young boy living in 793 England who is kidnapped by Vikings, taken back to their home and eventually returns home.

But, this story is so much more than that.

Jack is an adolescent that lives in an English coastal village with his parents and younger sister. This world is Christian with a hefty bit of pagan practices thrown in. This is not a comfortable mix.

Jack is invited to be the apprentice for the local bard. Bards are more than mere story-telling musicians - they can weave magic by being in touch with something called the Life Force. Their music can enhance and focus their magic. Jack's mother exhibited such tendencies as well but she was never formally trained.

While in the midst of his training, Jack's teacher is magically attacked by a half-troll Viking queen (married to King Ivar the Boneless) and the village is soon physically attacked by Berserker Viking raiders from the same kingdom. Jack and his sister are captured by these raiders and their leader, the fearsome Olaf One-Brow plans to sell them as slaves back in the kingdom of Ivar the Boneless.
A Viking Longship in the Bayeux Tapestry. Photo by Urban.

While traveling back to the Viking kingdom, Jack's nascent talents as a Bard are discovered and he moves into a new, precarious position - still a slave yet also valuable to Olaf as a weaver of spells and singer of his praises. But, if he casts a spell incorrectly or sings a song wrong his life may be forfeit.

A mistaken spell in the great hall of Ivan the Boneless and his half-troll wife sends Jack, Olaf and the sullen young shield maiden Thorgill on an epic quest across the Troll Sea into a land that only exists in legend - a land filled with trolls, man-eating plants, giant spiders, sea monsters, dragons and more...

This is a fun story, has lots of depth and plenty of opportunity to talk about how people are rarely all good or all bad. For example, the Vikings warriors are thieves, slave traders and brutal murderers of an entire village. But, they are also honorable friends, wonderful hosts and fantastic family men.

I listened to this audiobook with my freshman daughter. It was her first audiobook experience and she absolutely loved it. I was more than impressed by the narration of Gerard Doyle. He voices men, women, boys, girls, trolls, crows, and even more with great skill. 

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: THE SEA of TROLLS (Sea of Trolls Trilogy #1) by Nancy Farmer.

Reviewed on October 12, 2014.

Read my review of The Land of the Silver Apples, volume 2 in this trilogy by clicking HERE

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