The Sea of Trolls (Sea of Trolls Trilogy)

by Nancy Farmer

Paperback, 2004



Local notes

PB Far




Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2004), Edition: Reprint, 459 pages


After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.


Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Middle Grade — 2007)
Mythopoeic Awards (Finalist — Children's Literature — 2005)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2006)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2007)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Teen — 2008)
Iowa Teen Award (Nominee — 2007)
Indies Choice Book Award (Honor Book — Children's Literature — 2005)
Otherwise Award (Shortlist — 2004)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Nominee — Middle School — 2007)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — Juvenile Books — 2006)
Rhode Island Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2006)
South Carolina Book Awards (Nominee — Junior Book Award — 2008)
Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 2005)

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

459 p.; 5.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Laurenbdavis
Oh, a rollicking good tale! Such fun. An adventure in high order -- and with trolls. What more could you ask for? Okay, in a few places the dialogue sounds jarringly modern, and it's all pretty predictable, but who cares. Every once in a while I just have to cleanse my palate from all the heady
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literary books in which I'm usually nose deep and a book like this is just the ticket. YA books, when they're well written as this one is, marry humor and subtle morality with breath-taking plotting. I enjoy it utterly, and do so utterly guilt-free!
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LibraryThing member ElDoradoHills
Come join the Saxons and the Northmen on an awesome quest! Magic, dragons, trolls and grand adventure await the readers of this book. Complex characters (are the Northmen vicious psychotics or family men out earning a living?) are too difficult to judge easily, and the author does an amazing job
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creating this believeable alternate world! A Great Read for fantasy readers!
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LibraryThing member bibliophile26
A fantasy set in the time of Beowulf, in which Jack, a Saxon boy who is training to be a bard (a magician), is carried off by the invading Northmen. Jack must go on a quest to the land of the trolls, where he encounters dragons, giant spiders and more, in order to save his sister Lucy. No wonder
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Farmer is an award winner. Her books are well-researched, engaging and original (although she does relate the Beowulf story and other elements of fantasy writing). I think she is my favorite children's author. I loved The House of the Scorpion as well. I can't recommend her books highly enough.
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LibraryThing member sara_k
The Sea of Trolls is as imaginative and stirring as Nancy Farmer's other books and her characters are engaging and variably motivated. The Sea of Trolls differs from some of her books by having less ethical/moral stress and more fun story (though the story is stressful at times since the
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protaganist is in danger and works through lots of problems).

Jack is apprentice to the village Bard when his village is pillaged by berserkers. Jack and his young sister are kidnapped and taken to Iceland; Jack as personal bard to Olaf One Brow and his sister as a gift to the half-troll Queen. Berserkers turn out to be real people with families and the Queen is much more dangerous than Jack had imagined. Lots or adventures in lands populated by wonderful and dangerous animals and plants.

This is a keeper.
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LibraryThing member bookladymn
Nancy Farmer is a wonderful story teller. Every book she writes is supremely researched and this is no exception. Set in the mid-700s AD, the story follows the thrilling adventures of Jack from his humble beginnings as a "common farm brat" through his apprenticeship to a Bard, then his abduction by
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beserker Norsemen, and his quest to the hall's of the Ice Queen for passage to Memeer's well so that he can save his sister, Lucy's life.

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member viviandoughty
Nancy Farmer has taken actual historical incidents circa the years 635 to 700 and woven them into a fantasy that might have been imagined by the early Vikings. It is quite an interesting book idea, however, lacks a "golden thread" that pulls me into devoted reading. This is definitely not one of
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those, "I couldn't stop reading it" books. The story takes a long time to develop. I'm not even quite sure I could find a plot in the beginning, however, many small plots develop throughout the story managing to carry my interest to the end of the book. Many details are re-visited and answer lingering questions at the end. As a plus, Farmer has quite a way of developing scenery and characters (and, oh, there are sooo many of both). Farmer also has a way of using language familiar to today's teens to draw them in. I would recommend this to my average middle-schooler book clubs where discussion/question/answers abound. I would reserve it for more advanced middle-school readers looking for "something new".
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LibraryThing member DF_1ANicholasV
This book is riviting with details of epic adventure and folklore.
You feel as though you are in a adventure from the start!
LibraryThing member okmliteracy8
An action packed book filled with surprises. An imaginable fantasy land. A thrilling book with twists and turns of magic and betrayal.Shows you that a normal person can become someone that matters to everyone.This book was amazing. filled with magic and power. An imaginative novel. Powerful. It
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puts you into an amzing fantasy world filled with creatures and trolls, allies and enemies.

Keevin L.
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LibraryThing member mdomsky
This is an amazing historical fantasy about a boy named Jack who is captured and enslaved by viking berserkers. I'm no expert on this time period or culture, but as far as I can tell, Farmer slips a lot of historical and mythical details naturally into the story, as well as some magic and of
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course, trolls!
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LibraryThing member prpl_reader_services
The story begins with a young boy named Jack who leaves home to study magic with the local bard (a type of wizard). Soon after, the bard’s magic warns him of an impending attack by Vikings. While warning his family of the attack, Jack and his younger sister are kidnapped by the berserk invaders.
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Forced into slavery upon the Viking ship, the two siblings must survive their captures brutality, attacks by dragons, encounters with trolls, and the most evil Queen in the land to make it back home.

At nearly 500 pages, this book would appear to be quite the undertaking for its target audience, 10 to 13 year olds. But with an eclectic cast of intriguing characters and a wonderful mix of legend, historical fiction, and adventure the novel never slows down and the book is difficult to set down. It is no wonder that the author, Nancy Farmer, has received multiple Newbery honors. Her attention to detail and her historical accuracy create a story that is captivating and exciting throughout.

Recommended Reads:

I think this would appeal to young adults who like mythical series such as Eragon by Paolini, Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, The Lightning Thief by Riordan, and The Ranger’s Apprentice by Flanagan.
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LibraryThing member KClaire
An adventure involving boats, water, animals, mythical creatures, a bird, and finding your way back home. This story is wrapped in Norse mythology. Jack, a bard’s apprentice, and his spoiled, younger sister Lucy are captured by berserkers, a band of barbaric Viking warriors, and taken away on
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their boat. The story evolves into a magical quest to Jotunheim, home to trolls, before Jack can win their way back to their Saxon village home. Jack gradually discovers his strength and power though at first “He couldn’t think of a thing to do, other than stay alive for Lucy’s sake. She had no idea of their extreme danger. To her, this was merely an uncomfortable adventure.”(page 97)

The book would not be as good were the violence in the book not relieved by the counterpoint of kindness, “Don’t be angry, the Bard said. “Most people live inside a cage of their own expectations. It makes them feel safe. The world’s a frightening place full of glory and wonder and, as we’ve both discovered danger…No kindness is ever wasted, nor can we ever tell how much good may come of it.””(page 449) This is the truth of fairy tales and a beautiful thread that runs through this story.

Bring in a model or picture of a Viking ship. Draw a picture of Yggdrassil, the tree of life, showing the various realms in Norse mythology. Repeat the nursery rhyme of Jack and Jill went up the hill, and tell about how most nursery rhymes very often describe an historical event. In Yggdrassil there is a well, and in “The Sea of Trolls” Jack must fetch water from this well before he can save his sister Lucy and get back to his home.
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LibraryThing member natalieleclerc
the sea of trolls was perfect for me because i love anchient civilisations!!!!
LibraryThing member MaowangVater
Jack thought life was looking up, he’d been apprenticed to a bard, and taken away from the tedium of rounding up sheep, but then their Saxon village is raided by the Viking berserkers of Olaf One-Brow and he and his little sister are taken as slaves. But a seemingly hopeless plight turns into a
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grand quest deep into the territory of trolls.
Like The Hobbit, this is an adventure story for young readers based on Norse mythology.
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LibraryThing member satyridae
I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters are finely drawn and sympathetic, with the possible exception of the whiny/dreamy/mad little sister. The wanna-be-Berserker shield-maiden won my heart from the beginning.

I liked the way Farmer wove in Norse myths and legends as well as historical
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detail. None of that ever overpowered the sheer storytelling, either.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member eduscapes
Nancy Farmer's books are widely varied and always exciting. I got so engaged in this book that it's lead me to an entire exploration of my Norse heritage. We're even going on an exploration of the Viking sites in North America. The book tells the story of Jack and his little sister who are captured
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by Viking Berserkers and taken by ship to their home. The boy must undertake a quest through the land of trolls to save his sister.
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LibraryThing member hoosgracie
Thoroughly enjoyable adventure involving magic and Vikings. Had a very similar feel to Rick Riordan or the Harry Potter books. Excellent audio narrator.
LibraryThing member jmoncton
Great combination of fantasy and Norse mythology.
LibraryThing member SChant
Tiptree Honours/shortlist 2004. I nearly stopped reading this book after the first few chapters - the anachronisms kept jolting me out of the story. The author provided a whole list of further reading and references at the end of the book so surely it wan't beyond her to do a bit more reserach into
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Saxon Northumbria and at least used more appropriate names (Jack and Lucy - WTF?) and less modern idiom - it was really quite jarring. The family and farming life seemed more suited to Victorian pastoralism than Dark Ages Northumbria - and the irritating little girl could easliy have stepped out of the Narnia wardrobe. On the plus side I quite liked the slight snarkiness about the credulity of the Christians - believing any ludicrous bit of doctrine without thought. Fortunately, the Vikings arrived in the nick of time to liven things up and the story kicked on quite entertainingly, with plenty of pillaging, adventuring and general mayhem.
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LibraryThing member MartinP.G3
This book is about a boy and his little sister who go on great adventures. They were kidnapped when Jack(main character) was kidnapped by beserkers and enslaved by Olaf One-Brow. They find mysterious creatures on their adventure and learn new things about the world. They meet a crow who accompanies
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them on their adventures. Jack has never seen beserkers before until they attacked his Saxon village. He was eleven when they attacked his village. His sister's name is Lucy.
I really liked this book. It has so much adventure and action in it. I liked how Jack learned new things and had a crow with him. It was very thrilling reading the book. I liked the way that they would react to situations if there were ever any. Thorgil, the shipmate of Olaf, was just a jerk. I didn't like the way they just lived with each other.
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LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: Early England intersects with the Vikings and Norse mythology to tell a story of a boy who goes on a heroic journey to save his sister. First in a series.
LibraryThing member JaFi14
This book is about a boy(Jack) and his little sister(Lucy) and how they were taken away from the life of farming into the life of berserkers. Jack is a 11 year old and his sister is about 5 years old when they are taken away. Join the two hero's on their journey to understand the life force.
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer is a lively tale of myth and magic set in the long ago days of yore. Jack has been the apprentice to a powerful wizard, called the Bard, for a year when trouble comes to the village. Berserkers from the north lands capture Jack and his sister, Lucy and take them
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away with them back to their home in the north. But this is only the beginning of the adventure, as Jack eventually must join forces with his captors and embark on quest to save his sister, Lucy from the evil half-troll queen who is planning on sacrificing her.

As Jack and his companions, Olaf One-Brow, the young shield maiden, Thorgil, and a crow called Boldheart, travel deeper and deeper into Jotunheim, the homeland of the Tolls, the magic gets stronger and the creatures more strange and powerful. They eventually arrive at Ice Mountain, home to the Troll Queen Glamdis and she agrees to help him even though she is the mother of the evil queen.

This was a wonderful tale based on Scandinavian legends. The author obviously researched Nordic mythology and came up with this story peopled by trolls, dragons, giant spiders and Vikings. Although aimed at children, this is a book for anyone who enjoys good fantasy, complex characters and exciting adventures. At it’s heart, this is an epic fantasy and the author often uses humor to advance the plot, this worked very well and kept the book light, fresh and fun. The Sea of Trolls was a thoroughly enjoyable book, and although it is complete in itself, this is the first of a trilogy that I am excited to continue on with.
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LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
A sprawling quest that combines fantasy, history and folklore. Obviously well-researched.

Jack is an ordinary boy selected by the old Bard to be his assistant. As time goes on, Jack becomes a sort of apprentice, learning the magic of serving the life force. But one night the Nightmare passes over
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the Bard's home and reduces the Bard to babbling and grunting. In trying to protect the Bard, Jack and his little sister Lucy are kidnapped by Olaf and his fellow Beserkers. The captives are witness to slave trading, beserker raids and other atrocities before landing on Olaf's home island. Olaf is honored with a dinner in his village. Jack's skills as a skald come to troll-queen Frith's attention and he is asked to sing a tribute to her. His song causes something terrible to happen to Frith's beauty and he is ordered to find the cure or Lucy will die.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I just found out this is first of a trilogy. Well I sure hope it doesn't end in a cliffhanger. I like getting introduced to worlds and characters, not going on adventure after adventure with them.

Finished. Gosh this is not my type of book at all, but it was just so good I'm glad I read it. Kudos to
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Farmer. Ironically, my 14 yo son, who has enjoyed two other books by Farmer and who loves adventure (for example Percy Jackson) did not even finish this. The characters here I thought were extra-rich, so maybe that made the difference for me.

We both think this would be excellent for teen reluctant readers.

It definitely did not end on a cliffhanger. Eventually I'll probably read the others, but I feel no rush to do so. I'll probably read them only to be completist about Farmer's entire output, but read all her stand-alones first.
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LibraryThing member Vinculus
I really enjoyed this. Nice job combining the mythology and history of the region; good, strong characters; and the reader brought distinctness to each part. Full of good lessons, too, without being preachy.

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(437 ratings; 4.1)
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