Possessed by a curse that turned them into goats, three brothers set out to the land of Trolls. They are on a quest for a maiden's kiss, which will return them to their true forms. At the border, they cross a bridge and kill its guardian. Only after this unfortunate incident do they learn that trolls have families, too. How will any of the brothers get a kiss from a maiden when they are now in a blood feud with her kin? And the longer it takes, the more their human identities fade.
Will the brothers be doomed to roam as goats forever?
Kevin P. Futers was born in Dundee, Scotland and now resides in Newcastle upon Tyne, England with his wife, four children and two lurchers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, and the first two chapters seemed to be a little unusual, as there is hardly any mention of goats at all. The story is set in England in the dim and distant past, I think during the time of the Seven Kingdoms. From time to time the brothers remember this and they start talking about kings and battles, but mostly they are only bothered about trolls and green grass. They have a few diverting side stories where they meet a riddling elf and a big bad wolf. There are some elements that are predictable and others that are a surprise. I liked the last troll brother, who gets to turn the tables on the goats.
The next big hit movie from Dreamworks? I think it certainly should be, though it may turn out to be another missed opportunity from the film industry. This wonderful tale describes Eadwine the Gruff’s offspring, three of which are cursed to walk as goats. Of note, Eadwine and his sons are based on real characters from the seventh century, but until now the story of them becoming goats has not been told to any degree. Anyway, the only release from their spell is to kiss a maiden Troll. It starts off badly when they first meet a troll at the bridge (the original Billy Goats Gruff story) then kill him. This event increases their challenge by creating distrust amongst the whole Troll nation. The story then follows these enchanted goats as they slowly lose their humanity and become more caprine. As the story progressed, I honestly didn’t know if our heroes were destined to remain as goats or return to their human form: I won’t tell which happens. Once the tale gets going, it is a wonderful romp through enchanted lands with several adventures along the way. Fey creatures are met, some friendly and others not particularly. Mr Futers also explains quite a bit about the Troll culture at the time, which has not been well explored by other authors. He gives considerable perspective to the Trolls reaction to one of their kind being murdered. I would even suggest that he exposes their humanity, but that is insulting to trolls. I enjoyed the style of this book, in many ways done in a similar manner to a Brothers Grimm tale. To my untrained eye, The Adventures of Billy Goats Gruff could have easily been a translation of troll folklore recently discovered rather than a newly worked fiction. The story is of course based on the Three Billy Goats Gruff, which is an old bit of Norwegian folklore. This new take on the old tale does not detract or change from the original, but rather fills in the story before and after the original piece. As it turns out, there was much more to this than three goats trying to cross a bridge! The setting of the book is historically accurate as it takes place in Briton a hundred years or so after the time frame of Arthurian legend. The first few chapters of the book do read almost like a history text; a well written record, granted, but an academic piece none the less. The beginning may have been a little cumbersome, but I personally found it to be very interesting. It gives a considerable bit of information about a time in Britain that I had little to no knowledge of. For anyone interested in early Anglo-Saxon history, this is a very good read. The storyline is woven in with the historical references very well, so the book is still very readable. A small disappointment I felt was that as the brothers tried to win over Troll maidens, they were given a window of time to return to their human form. This made more sense for the story, but I was eager to see them try to catch the eye of a maiden in the form of a goat. Mr Futers’ goats were just that entertaining. One of the things I felt the author did really well was the development of the three brothers. In the beginning of the book, when the brothers were introduced, I could really only distinguish them based on their birth order, and I had to remind myself which was which. By the end of the book, each of them had become very much an individual, each with a distinct personality, strengths and preferences. At any rate, the book becomes hard to put down as the story is so enjoyable, but at the same time I found myself not wanting for it to be over. There is certainly a part of fantasy to the story, but also some satire and humor, along with the aforementioned historical context. This definitely goes to my re-read collection because of how I enjoyed it, and because of what I am likely to pick up on following reads. The author does state that the fantasy parts of the story are fictitious, while the rest is founded in history. However, while that may be the case, I can’t help but wonder if he is simply protecting some of his sources. The fact that Trolls have not been seen for millennia means simply that: we just haven’t seen them.