Fifteen-year-old Peer Ulfsson is haunted by his past. Forced to live with his evil uncles under the eerie shadows of Troll Fell, he nearly fell prey to their plan to sell children to the trolls. Now Peer lives with his friend Hilde's family, but can he ever truly belong? And will Hilde ever share his deeper feelings?
One rainy night, Peer watches in shock as his neighbor Kersten pushes her baby daughter into his arms and then disappears into the sea. Rumor says that Kersten is a seal woman who has returned to her ocean home, and the millpond witch, Granny Green-teeth, seems intent on taking the "seal baby." Peer also discovers that the mill, abandoned when his uncles joined the troll kingdom, is running again all on its own?
With angry trolls, mysterious seal people, a mischievous house spirit, and three unusual babies in the mix, Peer and Hilde have their hands full and more!Katherine Langrish returns to the magical world of her acclaimed debut, troll fell, in this second story set in an extraordinary land by the sea filled with Viking legends and lore.
About the Author
Katherine Langrish is the author of Troll Fell, a New York Public Library "One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing" book; Troll Mill, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age; and Troll Blood. She grew up in the Yorkshire Dales, the hill country of northern England. She graduated with an honors degree in English from the University of London and has been writing stories for most of her life. Katherine currently lives in England with her husband and two daughters.
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By Katherine Langrish
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Katherine Langrish
All right reserved.
What Happened on the Shore
The boat danced clumsily in from the fishing grounds, dipping and rolling over lively waves at the mouth of the fjord. Her crew, a man and a boy, reached steadily forward and back, tugging their two pairs of oars through the choppy water.
The boy, rowing in the bows, looked up over his companion's bent back. Out west beyond the islands, the wind tore a long yellow rift in the clouds, and the setting sun blinked through in stormy brilliance, splashing the water with fiery oils.
Dazzled, the boy missed his next stroke, slicing the oars through air instead of water. Braced to pull, he flew backward off his seat into a tangle of nets and creels and a slither of fat, bright fish. He lay breathless as the boat heaved under his spine, hurling him skyward, then sinking away underneath as though falling through space.
"Resting?" teased his friend Bjorn. "Had enough rowing for one day?"
Peer laughed back from the bottom of the boat, his long arms and legs sprawling. "Yes, I'm tired. I think I'll just stay here. Ouch!" Salt water slapped his face as the prow cut through a wave, and he scrambled up hastily with dripping hair, snatching at the loose oars.
"I'll take us in," said Bjorn over his shoulder. He leaned on his own pair of oars, and Peer knelt, clutching the slender bows, looking forward at the land. The water under the boat lit up a cloudy green; over on the shore the pebbles glittered, and the sea-grass on the dunes glowed gold. The late sunlight turned the slanting pastures above the village into slopes of emerald. High above all, the rugged peak of Troll Fell shone as if gilded against a sky dark as a bruise.
"Bad weather coming," said Bjorn, squinting at the sunset. The breeze stiffened, carrying cold points of rain. "But we'll get home before it catches us."
"Maybe you will," Peer said. "I'll get soaked on my way up the hill."
"Stay with us," offered Bjorn. "Kersten would love to see you. You can earn your supper by admiring the baby." He glanced around, smiling at Peer's sudden silence. "Come on. Surely you've got used to babies with little Eirik to practice on up at the farm? How old is he now?"
Peer calculated. "He was born last seedtime, just after Grandfather Eirik died, so . . . about a year. He certainly keeps Gudrun and Hilde busy. He's into everything."
"He's a fine little fellow, isn't he? It's sad his grandpa never saw him."
"Yes . . . although actually," said Peer, "I think he might have lost patience with the noise. Dear old Eirik, he was always grumbling, 'A poet needs peace and quiet!' Little Eirik screams such a lot. Babies! I never knew they were so much trouble."
"Ours is a good little soul," Bjorn said proudly. "Never cries."
"And how is Kersten?" Peer asked, his eye on the shore as they ran in past lines of black rocks. He crouched, tensing. Bjorn pulled a couple of hard strokes on one oar to straighten up.
"She's fine, thanks," he grunted, twisting around as the boat shot in on the back of a breaking wave. The keel knocked on the shingle, and Peer sprang out into a welter of froth and seaweed. Bjorn followed and together they ran the boat higher up the stony beach.
"That was a good day's work!" said Bjorn. "Glad Ralf could spare you."
"I've been helping him plough," Peer explained, "but we've got the seed in now and lambing's nearly over. So he said I deserved a holiday."
"It's been nice to have your company." Reaching into the boat, Bjorn hooked his fingers into the gills of a heavy, shining cod and hefted it. "There's plenty of eating on that one. Take it back with you." He handed it over. "Or will you stay?"
Cradling the fish awkwardly, Peer glanced around. The brief sunset flare was over. The rising wind whipped strands of sea-stiffened fair hair across his face. Loose swirls of cloud were descending over Troll Fell. The fjord disappeared under a gray sea fret, and restless waves slapped jerkily against the rocks.
"I'll stay," he decided. "Ralf and Gudrun won't be worried, they know I'm with you." Absurdly, he hugged the fish, smiling. Three years ago he'd been a friendless orphan, and he could still hardly believe that he now had a family who cared about him.
"Good choice!" said Bjorn cheerfully. "We'll ask Kersten to fry that fish for us, then, and we'll have it with lots of warm bread and hot sizzling butter. Are you hungry?"
"Starving." Peer licked his lips.
Bjorn laughed. "Then hurry! Go on ahead while I finish up here. Off with you! Here comes the wet."
Cold, stinging rain swept across the beach as he spoke, darkening the stones. It drove into Peer's face as he dashed across the clattering shingle, dodging boulders and jumping over inlets where the tide swirled and sloshed. It was fun, pitting himself against the weather. Soon he came to the channel where the stream ran down to the sea. Beside it, the path to the village wound up through the sand dunes.
Rain scythed through the long wiry grass, switching Peer's skin and soaking through his clothes in cold patches. Tiring, he slowed to a plod, looking forward to sitting snugly by the fire and chatting with Kersten while she cooked. The fish was a nuisance to carry though, slippery and unwieldy. He nearly dropped it and stopped to hoist it up. It slithered through his arms. He tried to shove it inside his jacket, but the head and tail stuck out. Wet and shivering, he began to laugh.
This is silly, he thought, I'm nearly juggling. What I need is a piece of string, or maybe a stick to skewer it on. I . . . what's that?
Excerpted from Troll Mill by Katherine Langrish Copyright © 2006 by Katherine Langrish. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved it! It's so strange that you can't get her books in stores-I spotted this trilogy at the library and they are so much fun! This is the second of the trilogy, and it takes place three years after Troll Fell. It starts off with Bjorn's wife Kersten rushing into the waves of the ocean, and disappearing. We then find out that she was a seal-woman who can turn into a human by taking off her fur coat, and turn back into a seal by putting her coat on. Really love the style of writing and fell in love with the characters--also this book is very exciting, kept me up to see what would happen!
The is Langrish's second book in her "Troll" series...the third being the forthcoming Troll Blood. In Troll Mill we join Peer and the Eiriksson family several years after the events of the first book. Here Peer and Hilde are now 15 years old, there is a new baby in the house and a lot of romantic tension between Peer (who finds himself in love with Hilde) and Hilde (who has feelings for Bjorn's Brother)...and of course...trolls! This story gives equal time to two different storylines, the first is that of Peer who is happy to live with the Eiriksons but longs for a way to prove himself more of a man (and thus more attractive to Hilde) and which touches on his past with the mill and his uncles through a chrisis of identity. This time around we find Peer trying to establish himself in the world, returning to the mill and trying to make a go of it again on his own only to discover that it has been running at night...on its own. This initial storyline is engaging and exciting on its own and becomes even more intriguing when pared with the second storyline which focuses Bjorn and Kersten (the neighbors who helped so much in Troll Fell while Hilde's father was away). Kersten has just had a baby and one night while coming in from fishing with Bjorn, Peer finds himself being handed the young infant as Kersten runs off and jumps into the ocean. As the story progresses, we find that it has long been suspected that Kersten was a Selkie (sea-maiden)...as the fisherman and Hilde's father search the seas day after day for Kersten (and Bjorn becomes more and more distant, eventually not even coming to see the baby anymore), Peer and Hilde find themselves in the middle of two mysteries, both of which are threatening to tear these families and friends apart. It is rare these days for a second book in series to be as good as or better than the first...but in the case of Troll Mill, Langrish has managed to pull it off spectacularly! I particularly liked that Granny Greenteeth, the Lubbers and the Nis got much bigger parts in Troll Mill, so we got to see more of them and learn more about what they are and how they live....and of course there are the trolls...it is Troll Mill after all, so they are also worked into the story this time around! I think Langrish does a fine job of aging and developing the characters from book to book and it's done in a way that is filled with suspense, interesting plot twists, and all manner of creatures, each out to get what they want while Peer and Hilde (and the rest of the family) try to figure out the mysteries before it's too late! Overall, I give Troll Mill five stars. It is, in my opinion, as good as (if not better than) the first book. Langrish uses the same Scandanivian folklore/mythology as the first book in the series and build on it further...so you get trolls and get to experience the world of the selkie and the realm between humans and selkie all the while still being treated to a detailed look at the in's and out's of day to day life in the given time period. Troll Mill manages to do all of this and not drag or become mired in the detail...it manages to say fast paced and intense while providing a wealth of information. I'd recommend it for young readers interested in fantasy. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with Troll Blood, the third book in the series (Troll Blood).
Langrish's sequel to Troll Fell continues the story of Peer, Hilde, and the rest of Peer's adoptive family, and it opens with a bang (splash?). Neighbor Bjorn's wife Kersten throws herself into the sea one stormy night leaving her husband bereft and her three-month-old daughter in uncertainty. Was Kersten a selkie, or is Bjorn mad? Complicating matters, the trolls are becoming more active, and the old mill, Peer's inheritance, is grinding away at night by itself. A good continuation of the original story, with reappearances by the Lubbers, the Nis, Granny-Green Teeth and the trolls, of course.
Another great story form Katherine Langrish. This is a great sequel to Troll Fell. Another great plot with lots of gripping adventure. The characters continue to develop in new and interesting ways. A nice fun read.
a great book, i loved it
Fifteen-year-old Peer Ulfsson still feels like an outsider perhaps because of his past when his evil uncles tried to sell children to the trolls (see TROLL FELL). Peer lives with the family of his only friend Hilde, but though they nurture him, he feels that he does not belong. Besides which he finds it increasingly difficult to hide his deeper regard for Hilde. He begins to wonder if he is in love. --- Bjorn¿s wife Kersten dumps her infant into Peer¿s arms before jumping into the nearby stormy sea. The locals insist that Kersten simply returned to her natural habitat as she was obviously a seal-woman, but Peer has doubts that this is true. At the same time, the millpond witch Granny Green-teeth demands possession of the so-called 'seal baby' though Peer fears what she would do to the female infant. He also wonders who is running the abandoned mill that his uncles operated before they became trolls and whether that malevolent species is planning a new assault. Peer believes he must keep the child safe, uncover the secret to the mill, learn if the trolls are on the march and persuade Hilde to be his girl. Three of the four seem relatively easy to the teen. --- This terrific character driven fantasy sequel stars a troubled teen struggling with his heritage in light of the nefarious activities of his former guardians, his uncles whom Peer had to stop. He also has an apparent unrequited crush on Hilde to add to his internal confusion. The story line is action-packed as the hero hardily investigates the secrets of the old mill and the goings-on of the trolls. Along the way, middle school readers accompany Peer as he meets up with the witch, selkies and trolls, all who seem authentic. --- Harriet Klausner