The Land of the Silver Apples (Sea of Trolls Trilogy Series #2)

( 48 )

Overview

THE CHILDREN
FROM THE SEA OF TROLLS
BRAVE THEIR WORST
NIGHTMARES -- UNDERGROUND.

Jack is amazed to have caused an earthquake. He is thirteen, after all, and only a bard-in-training. But his sister, Lucy, has been stolen by the Lady of the Lake; stolen a second time in her young life, as he learns to his terror. Caught between belief in the old gods and Christianity (790 ...

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The Land of the Silver Apples (Sea of Trolls Trilogy Series #2)

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Overview

THE CHILDREN
FROM THE SEA OF TROLLS
BRAVE THEIR WORST
NIGHTMARES -- UNDERGROUND.

Jack is amazed to have caused an earthquake. He is thirteen, after all, and only a bard-in-training. But his sister, Lucy, has been stolen by the Lady of the Lake; stolen a second time in her young life, as he learns to his terror. Caught between belief in the old gods and Christianity (790 AD, Britain), Jack calls upon his ash wood staff to subdue a passel of unruly monks, and, for his daring, ends up in a knucker hole. It is unforgettable -- for the boy and for readers -- as are the magical reappearance of the berserker Thorgil from a burial by moss; new characters Pega, a slave girl from Jack's village, and the eager-to-marry-her Bugaboo (a hobgoblin king); kelpies; yarthkins; and elves (not the enchanted sprites one would expect but the fallen angels of legend). Rarely does a sequel enlarge so brilliantly the world of the first story. Look for the conclusion in The Islands of the Blessed in 2009.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sarah Hill
This sequel to The Sea of Trolls (Atheneum/S & S, 2004/VOYA October 2004) lives up to the expectations set by the first novel. This Newbery Honor author delivers an exciting blend of Norse and Celtic mythology and early Christianity to create a fascinating world in which thirteen-year-old Jack must learn to control his magical powers. Jack is a bard's apprentice who is slowly improving his skills. His younger and bratty sister is stolen by otherworldly creatures (again), but this time she does not want to come home. Lucy is part elf, which explains her selfishness, but Jack's search for her develops into a quest. Thorgil returns in this novel, and her Northwoman fighting skills help the traveling assemblage. Pega, an ugly servant girl, has a beautiful singing voice that awakens the ancient yarthkins and causes the hobgoblin king to fall in love with her. Jack's friends travel from world to world, meeting all kinds of goblins, kelpies, elves, Picts, and more. In this middle book of a trilogy, the ending is slightly disappointing because readers must wait two years to discover what happens to Jack and his friends. But this fantasy is truly remarkable with the blending of the myths and ancient Christian tales. Farmer has an eight-page appendix describing the religion of the time period and Pictish symbols, along with a three page bibliography. The third book in the Islands of the Blessed trilogy should be published in 2009.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
In this entrancing if lengthy sequel, Jack, now 13 and a bard-in-training, is forced to head out to rescue his little sister Lucy once more when she is kidnapped by the Lady of the Lake. The setting is Britain in 790 AD, and the old gods uneasily co-exist with newer Christian beliefs. Elves are really fallen angels, we learn, and Lucy is happy living in their glamorous world of illusions. Accompanying Jack on his quest to find Lucy and restore water to the fortress of Din Guardi are Pega, a village slave girl whom he frees; the Norse warrior maiden Thorgil, whom he rescues from a burial in moss; and a silver-tongued slave named Brutus, who turns out to be a descendent of Lancelot. They are trapped in the Land of the Silver Apples, where time doesn't pass. Their Tolkienesque adventures, filled with magic, danger, and humor, will appeal to all fantasy fans who enjoyed the acclaimed first book. An appendix gives background on religion at that time, and on St. Filian's Well, Din Guardi, and Pictish symbols, which decorate each chapter heading. The conclusion to Jack's tale, The Islands of the Blessed, will be published in 2009.
Kirkus Reviews
In this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (2004), Jack discovers his sister Lucy is a changeling, and he is off on a quest to find his real sister and bring her home. With the help of the Bard and Pega, the slave girl he has freed, Jack goes to St. Filian's Well, accidentally causes an earthquake and ends up in the Land of the Silver Apples, where elves rule and time stands still. As the middle volume of a planned trilogy set in eighth-century Britain, this takes its shape from the whole: It can stand on its own, but it mostly enlarges the world of the first volume. It's not the quest itself that's memorable, but the majestic sweep of Farmer's storytelling, from the story of Lucifer and the battle of the angels to the Man in the Moon, the goddess Hel and any number of hobgoblins, yarthkins, knuckers and kelpies. Jack, Pega and Thorgil prove strong and capable in ways they themselves never suspected, and readers will look forward to the final installment. (appendix, sources) (Fiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher
"Jack, Pega, and Thorgil prove strong and capable in ways they themselves never suspected, and readers will look forward to the final installment." — Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410404374
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 2/6/2008
  • Series: Sea of Trolls Trilogy Series , #2
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 589
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Farmer

Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery Honor books: The Ear, the Eye and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which, in 2002, also won the National Book Award and the Printz Honor. Other books include The Lord of Opium, The Sea of Trolls, The Land of the Silver Apples, The Islands of the Blessed, Do You Know Me, The Warm Place, and three picture books for young children. She grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border and now lives with her family in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.

Biography

Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in a quirky hotel on the outskirts of Mexico, Farmer's unconventional upbringing around such types as rodeo wranglers and circus travelers all but guaranteed the unique and colorful life that was to follow.

After receiving her B.A. degree from Oregon's Reed College 1963, Farmer enlisted in the Peace Corps in India where she served from 1963 to 1965. From 1969 to 1971, she found herself immersed in the study of chemistry at Merritt College in Oakland, California and later at the University of California at Berkeley from 1969 to 1971. However, her wanderlust eventually took her to Africa, where she labored as a lab technician in Zimbabwe from 1975 to 1978. There, she met Harold, her husband-to-be, who was an English teacher at the University; after a weeklong courtship, they were engaged. Happily married ever since, they have a son, Daniel.

On how she decided to become a writer, Farmer explained in an interview with the Educational Paperback Association, "When Daniel was four, while I was reading a novel, the feeling came over me that I could create the same kind of thing. I sat down almost in a trance and produced a short story. It wasn't good, but it was fun. I was forty years old." She continues, "Since that time I have been absolutely possessed with the desire to write. I can't explain it, only that everything up to then was a preparation for my real vocation."

Her first book, Do You Know Me?, an adventure for young people set in Zimbabwe, was soon to follow this epiphany. The book was well-received by kids and critics alike, and Publishers Weekly praised Farmer for providing "a most interesting window on a culture seldom seen in children's books."

Her follow-up, The Ear, the Eye and the Arm, was named an Newbery Award Honor Book in 1995, and also honored as a Notable Book and a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association, and an Honor Book by the Golden Kite Awards, awarded by the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators. Most recently, The House of the Scorpion won the 2002 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Good To Know

A former chemistry teacher, one of Farmer's first jobs was as an insect pathology technician. Said farmer in an interview with the Educational Paperback Association, "I had never taken entomology. All I knew was that bugs had more legs than cows, but my boss wanted someone who wouldn't talk back to him."

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    1. Hometown:
      Menlo Park, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 9, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      Phoenix, Arizona
    1. Education:
      B.A., Reed College, 1963

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

THE NECKLACE

It was the middle of the night when the rooster crowed. The sun had disappeared hours ago into a mass of clouds over the western hills. From the wind buffeting the walls of the house, Jack knew a storm had rolled off the North Sea. The sky would be black as a lead mine, and even the earth, covered with snow as it was, would be invisible. The sun when it rose — if it rose — would be masked in gloom.

The rooster crowed again. Jack heard his claws scratching the bottom of his basket as if he was wondering where his soft nest had gone. And where his warm companions had hidden themselves. The rooster was alone in his little pen.

"It's only for a while," Jack told the bird, who grumbled briefly and settled down. He would crow again later, and again, until the sun really appeared. That was how roosters were. They made noise all night, to be certain of getting it right.

Jack threw back the heap of sheepskins covering him. The coals in the hearth still gleamed, but not for long, Jack thought with a twinge of fear. It was the Little Yule, the longest night of the year, and the Bard had commanded they put out all the fires in the village. The past year had been too dangerous. Berserkers had appeared from across the water, and only merest chance had kept them from slaughtering the villagers.

The Northmen had destroyed the Holy Isle. Those who had not been drowned or burned or chopped to bits had been hauled off into slavery.

It was time for new beginnings, the Bard said. Not one spark of fire was to remain in the little gathering of farms Jack knew as home. New fire had to be kindled from the earth. The Bard called it a "need-fire." Without it, the evils of the past would linger into the new year.

If the flame did not kindle, if the earth refused to give up its fire, the frost giants would know their time had come. They would descend from their icy fortresses in the far north. The great wolf of winter would devour the sun and light would never return.

Of course, that was the belief in the old days, Jack thought as he pulled on his calfskin boots. Now, with Brother Aiden in the village, people knew that the old beliefs should be cast away. The little monk sat outside his beehive-shaped hut and spoke to anyone who would listen. He gently corrected people's errors and spoke to them of the goodness of God. He was an excellent storyteller, almost as fine as the Bard. People were willing to listen to him.

Still, in the dark of the longest night of the year, it was hard to believe in such goodness. God had not protected the Holy Isle. The wolf of winter was abroad. You could hear his voice on the wind, and the very air rang with the shouts of frost giants. Surely it was wise to follow the old ways.

Jack climbed the ladder to the loft. "Mother, Father," he called. "Lucy."

"We're awake," his father replied. He was already bundled up for the long walk. Mother was ready too, but Lucy stubbornly clung to her covers.

"Leave me alone!" she wailed.

"It's St. Lucy's Day," Father coaxed. "You'll be the most important person in the village."

"I'm already the most important person in the village."

"The very idea!" Mother said. "More important than the Bard or Brother Aiden or the chief? You need a lesson in humility."

"Ah, but she's really a lost princess," Father said fondly. "She'll look so pretty in her new dress."

"I will, won't I?" said Lucy, condescending to rise.

Jack went back down the ladder. It was an argument Mother never won. She tried to teach Lucy manners, but Father always undermined her efforts.

To Giles Crookleg, his daughter was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him. He was forever cursed with lameness. Both he and his wife, Alditha, were sturdy rather than handsome, with faces browned by working in the fields. No one would ever mistake them for nobility.

Jack knew he would be just like them when he grew up. But Lucy's hair was as golden as afternoon sunlight and her eyes were the violet blue of an evening sky. She moved with a bright grace that seemed barely to touch the earth. Giles, with his lumbering, shambling gait, could only admire her.

Jack had to admit, as he stirred up the hearth for one last burst of heat, that Lucy had been through much in the past year. She had seen murder and endured slavery in the Northland. He had too, but he was thirteen and she was only seven. He was willing to overlook most of her annoying habits.

He heated cider and warmed oatcakes on the stones next to the fire. Mother was busy dressing Lucy in her finery, and Jack heard complaints as the little girl's hair was combed. Father came down to drink his cider.

The cock crowed again. Both Jack and Father paused.

It was said in the old days that a golden rooster lived in the branches of Yggdrassil. On the darkest night of the year he crowed. If he was answered by the black rooster that lived under the roots of the Great Tree, the End of Days had come.

No cry shook the heavens or echoed in the earth. Only the north wind blustered against the walls of the house, and Jack and Father relaxed. They continued to sip their drinks. "I wish we had a mirror," came Lucy's petulant voice. "I don't see why we can't buy one from the Pictish peddlers. We've got all that silver Jack brought home."

"It's for hard times," Mother said patiently.

"Oh, pooh! I want to see myself! I'm sure I'm beautiful."

"You'll do," Mother said.

In fact, Jack had more silver than his parents knew. The Bard had advised him to bury half of it under the floor of the ancient Roman house, where the old man lived. "Your mother has good sense," the Bard had said, "but Giles Crookleg — excuse me, lad — has the brain of an owl."

Father had spent some of his share on Brother Aiden's altar and a donkey for Lucy. The rest was reserved for that glorious day when she would marry a knight or even — Father's hopes rose ever higher — a prince. How Lucy would meet a prince in a tiny village tucked away from any major road was a mystery.

The little girl climbed down the ladder and twirled to show off her finery. She wore a long, white dress of the finest wool. Mother had woven the yellow sash herself, dying it with the pollen-colored washings from her beehives. The dress, however, had been imported from Edwin's Town in the far north. Such cloth was beyond Mother's ability, for her sheep produced only a coarse, gray wool.

Lucy wore a feathery green crown of yew on her golden hair. Jack thought it was as nice as a real crown, and only he understood its true meaning. The Bard said the yew tree guarded the door between this world and the next. On the longest night of the year this door stood open. Lucy's role was to close it during the need-fire ceremony, and she needed protection from whatever lay on the other side.

"I know what would go with this dress — my silver necklace," Lucy said.

"You are not to wear metal," Mother said sharply. "The Bard said it was forbidden."

"He's a pagan," Lucy said. She had only just learned the word.

"He's a wise man, and I'll have no disrespect from you!"

"A pagan, a pagan, a pagan!" Lucy sang in her maddening way. "He's going to be dragged down to Hell by demons with long claws."

"Get your cloak on, you rude child. We've got to go."

Lucy darted past Mother and grabbed Father's arm. "You'll let me wear the necklace, Da. Please? Please-please-please-please-please?" She cocked her head like a bright little sparrow, and Jack's heart sank. She was so adorable, all golden hair and smiles.

"You can't wear the necklace," Jack said. Lucy's smile instantly turned upside down.

"It's mine!" she spat.

"Not yet," Jack said. "It was given into my keeping. I decide when you get it."

"You thief!"

"Lucy!" cried Mother.

"What harm can it do, Alditha?" said Father, entering into the argument for the first time. He put his arm around the little girl, and she rubbed her cheek against his coat. "Brother Aiden says this is St. Lucy's Day. Surely we honor the saint by dressing her namesake in the finest we have."

"Giles — ," began Mother.

"Be still. I say she wears the necklace."

"It's dangerous," Jack said. "The Bard says metal can poison the need-fire because you can't tell where it's been. If it's been used as a weapon or for some other evil, it perverts the life force."

Father had treated Jack with more respect since his return from the land of the Northmen, but he was not going to be lectured by his son. "This is my house. I am the master," Giles Crookleg said. He went to the treasure chest with Lucy dancing at his side.

Father took the iron key from the thong around his neck and unlocked the chest. Inside were some of the things Mother had brought to the marriage: lengths of cloth, embroidery, and a few items of jewelry. Underneath were a heap of silver coins and a gold coin with the face of a Roman king that Father had found in the garden. Wrapped in a cloth was the necklace of silver leaves.

It gleamed with a brightness that was strangely compelling. Jack could understand Lucy's desire for it. It had been looted in a Northman raid, claimed by Frith Half-Troll, and had come to Thorgil the shield maiden. Thorgil fell in love with it, and this was most unusual because she scorned feminine weaknesses such as jewelry and baths. Then Thorgil, who valued suffering even more than silver, had given her beloved necklace to Lucy.

From the very beginning, the little girl had reacted badly to this generous gift. She claimed it came from Frith, who — Lucy insisted — had treated her like a real princess. And she became hysterical when Jack reminded her of the truth, that the evil half-troll had kept her in a cage and planned to sacrifice her. Jack had taken charge of the necklace then.

"Ooh!" cried Lucy, putting it on.

"Now we really have to go," said Father, locking the chest. He had lit two horn lanterns for the journey. Mother had packed several of her precious beeswax candles in a carrying bag. Jack poured water over the hearth, and smoke and steam billowed up. The light in the room shrank down to two brownish dots behind the panels of the horn lanterns.

"Be sure it's out," whispered Mother. Jack broke up the coals with the poker and poured on more water until he could feel only a fading heat in the hearthstones.

Father opened the door, and a blast of icy wind swept in. The rooster groaned in his pen, and a cup rolled along the floor. "Don't dawdle!" Father commanded, as though Jack and Mother had been responsible for the delay. Snow lay everywhere, and they could see only a few feet ahead by the dim lantern light. The sky was shrouded with clouds.

Father fetched the donkey for Lucy. Bluebell was an obedient, patient beast, chosen by Brother Aiden for her good character, but she had to be dragged from her pen on this night. She fought until Father smacked her hard and seated Lucy on her back. The donkey stood there, shivering and blowing steam from her nostrils.

"Good old Bluebell," crooned Lucy, hugging the animal's neck. The little girl was covered in a heavy woolen robe with a hood, and the robe hung down over Bluebell's sides. It must have given the donkey some warmth because she stopped resisting and followed Father's lead.

Jack went ahead with a lantern. It was slow going, for the road was icy where it wasn't covered with snow. Jack had to keep trudging to the side to find the posts that marked the way. Once, they wandered off course and knew they were wrong only when Jack bumped into a tree.

The wind gusted and the snowflakes danced. Jack heard a rooster crow, but it wasn't the golden bird sitting on the branches of Yggdrassil. It was only John the Fletcher's fighting cock that threatened anyone who passed by. They came to a cluster of buildings and turned at the blacksmith's house. "There's no fire," Mother murmured. The forge where iron bars were heated was as black as the anvil under the oak tree.

Jack felt a cold even deeper than the winter night. Never, in all his days, had he ever seen that fire out. It was like the heart of the village, where people gathered to talk and where you could warm your toes after a walk. Now it was dead. Soon every fire would be dead, including the two brown spots of light they carried.

More would have to be called up, using wood that had drawn its strength from the earth. For the need-fire had to be alive to turn the wheel of the year. Only then would the frost giants return to their mountains and the door be closed between this world and the next.

Text copyright © 2007 by Nancy Farmer

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 22, 2011

    Recommended

    The Sea of Trolls trilogy is refreshing change from the typical teenage books. The plot is well developed, and the conflicts are interesting and atypical. The main characters are likeable and the relationships between them provide more interesting aspects to the story. All of this being said, at times the book seemed rushed. The build up to a climactic point would be good, but then the actual resolution of the problem would be too short, maybe even a paragraph. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book to young adult readers and adult readers alike. The book is straightforward but not too simple, and does have a very deep theme about life. Jack's inward thoughts may have been my favorite part of this book. I found his ponderings over magic, Christianity, and what is morally correct very thought-provoking. With all of these things added together, this book is very well-written and developed, and despite rushing through some of the climactic action scenes, a highly recommended piece of literature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Lame

    Not cool as i though it was

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    Great book

    Could read it over and over and never get bored

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    SUCK MY TENDER!

    This book stinks

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Not that great!

    It was really slow the plot wasn't that great. The people in the story are actually really mean! I didn't like it that much.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Good story

    You should read this if you <3 fantasy!!!! ;) :) ;D :D ;p :p hi

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  • Posted April 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Jack, the Bard’s apprentice, sets off on a rescue quest wh

    Jack, the Bard&rsquo;s apprentice, sets off on a rescue quest when his sister Lucy is kidnapped by Elves. His companions are an unreliable slave/rightful-heir-to-the-throne and a recently freed girl-slave who worships the ground Jack walks on. They meet many magical creatures, re-discover some old friends, and have lots of exciting adventures along the way. I thought this was an excellent sequel to Sea of Trolls. It expanded the mythology of the land while developing the characters already introduced in the first book. I really appreciated the way Farmer handled the three religions that were represented by her characters in this 790AD Britain-based world. She showed the power and beauty of the Pagans as well as the Christians and subtly made the point that they all got their believers where they needed to go&mdash;but she did this without forcing the point or lecturing, which is the sign of excellent story-telling! My only quibble about this book is that most of the major plot threads were completed by page 400, leaving 100 pages for the final (and least pressing) plot thread. This is why the book got 4 instead of 5 stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Sad

    I miss Olaf! He was so sweet!

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Best of the trilogy!

    The Sea of Trolls was such a complete story that I questioned whether Silver Apples was a good idea. I read Silver Apples all in one sitting because of how enjoyable it was. I am of the opinion that Silver Apples should have won the Newberry award like Sea of Trolls.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Really good story that incorporates mythology from many cultures

    I really enjoyed the second book in this series. It was very interesting how she mixed and mingled many cultures myths and legends as well as early Christian practices. It included legends from elves to hobgoblins, trolls and vikings. It covered in an entertaining way how these cultures viewed life after death and how bards and druids and life force worked with Christianity. A very interesting story that was fast passed and very entertaining to read. I loved her two main characters, and it has great lessons about how and why we treat people the way we do. It also expresses the idea that when we know people our differences do not matter. Good entertainment and good lessons as well as fun information about myths.

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  • Posted January 21, 2009

    Awesome!

    This is a really good book. In this story a kid jack goes to the land of the silver apples on a quest that he has to finish in time in order to save his dad.<BR/>Jack, an apprentice to this guy the Bard who has some awesome whacked out magic powers, sister became infested with a demon and they had to go to a big church so they could get the demon out. Jack's father and Pegga, a former slave that jack had recently freed came along. When they get to the church, jack gets attacked by an elf and gets healed just in time to go to the demon "removal" ceremonies for his sister, Lucy. But when Jack finds out that what the monks really do to remove the demon is beat the crap out of the people, he gets angry and uses his whacked out powers to make an earthquake. When he does that, the same elf that injured him takes his sister down a big crack that the earthquake made. The king of the land, King Yffi takes jack's dad into custody until Jack goes and gets the elf back. So it's up to Jack, Pegga, a slave named Brutus to go and get back the elf and Lucy.<BR/>The setting is in earth, probably England a long, long, time ago. I am basing that assumption on the facts that there are vikings that live nearby and the slave Brutus claims to be the great-great-great-grandchild of Sir Lancelot of King Arthur's Round Table

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    Wonderful!!!!!!

    This book is absolutely wonderful! It had every one from the last book, Jack Thorgil and the Bard and many many more. And also some new ones. The more I read the more I got sucked into the wonderful fantasy that Nancy Farmer has created. This book is so good I could hardly put it down! After it ended I searched to see when the next one would come out and I was very sad to hear that it will take so long. Anyways, like I said I would recommend these books for anyone and everyone. So, PLEASE get the books and start reading. This book will have you captivated by the first few pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    Outstanding

    A very good book full of action and very intertaining!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2007

    Not as good as the first

    This book wasn't anything like the first. It was really sad, but It was shocking as well. I loved the fact that Jack kissed 'Jill'

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

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    Posted April 8, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

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