Nancy Farmer, Author . Atheneum/Jackson $17.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-689-86744-6

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.)

Reviewed on: 07/19/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Show other formats
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-84739-731-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4000-9078-5
Book - 12 pages - 978-1-4025-9344-4
Hardcover - 552 pages - 978-0-7862-7151-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4193-0820-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-8963-0
Paperback - 459 pages - 978-0-689-86746-0
Paperback - 476 pages - 978-84-08-06565-4
Prebound-Sewn - 459 pages - 978-1-4177-2797-1
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4169-1432-7
Prebound-Glued - 459 pages - 978-0-7569-7014-7
Hardcover - 459 pages - 978-0-689-86043-0
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