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VOYAPatch Riding, tailor's apprentice, might be only thirteen, but he is fast and observant, and he knows that one defends the defenseless. When the sickly shepherd Osbert is accosted by a ten-foot-tall troll, Patch stands his ground, takes the troll by surprise, and knocks him off the bridge to his death in the rapids below. Word of the "troll killer" spreads quickly, much as the brave little tailor's story spread years before, and soon Patch is wanted at Dartham castle as special advisor to the king. For trolls from the Barren Gray are doing the unprecedented-banding together in groups, moving about in daylight, and threatening to attack the castle. Reality is a tough teacher when Patch's first plan to defeat the trolls has fatal consequences. Patch has only the riddle of a fool and the observations of a madman to help him discover the trolls' fatal weakness. In the footsteps of Bill Richardson's After Hamelin (Annick Press/Firefly, 2000/VOYA April 2001) comes Catanese and his Further Tales. The cast is fairy-tale familiar, with gentle royalty, mighty knights, and brave peasants. The quick pace moves from one action-filled scene to another and only allows Patch brief moments of reflection with the sympathetic queen or the mad tailor. Readers will enjoy the ride but might be frustrated by their inability to solve the riddle because of the paucity of clues. Nonetheless Patch's awkwardness and lack of self-confidence make him all the more likeable as he seeks to defeat the trolls and prove himself. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2005, Aladdin/S & S, 240p., pb. Ages 11 to 14.