Friday, April 11, 2008

John Vornholt

The Troll King
by John Vornholt
Recommended Age: 10+

In the blighted land of Bonespittle, every ghoul, gnome, ogre, and troll is ruled by the ancient and wicked last of the sorcerers - Stygius Rex. Now Stygius Rex has had a dream that a leader from Bonespittle will bridge the Great Chasm between his land and the Bonny Woods on the other side, where fairies and elves - their natural enemies - dwell. And that leader will rule over both realms.

So Stygius Rex sets out to build that bridge, enlisting the aid of the bridge-building trolls - or rather, forcing their help. Trolls are on the bottom of the social ladder in Bonespittle, though it is said they used to be great warriors and magic users themselves. Now they live, on the edge of starvation, under the bridges that fill the Dismal Swamp, terrorized by the ghouls and ogres who serve the king.

One of those trolls is a 14-year-old, big-and-strong-for-his-age fellow named Rollo. With a build and appearance that sets him apart from other trolls, he is only beginning to discover his true gifts when he is shanghaied into Stygius Rex's bridge-building crew. Soon Rollo's leadership qualities, intelligence, courage, and ability to fly (at first, with the aid of the sorcerer-king's magic) cause him to be singled out for a scouting mission to the other side of the Chasm--where a chance friendship with a fairy named Clipper and a first-hand knowledge of Stygius Rex's nature and tactics leads Rollo to question all that he thought he knew about who is good and who is bad.

Filled with humor, magic, weird and often dangerous creatures, action and adventure, this story by a sometime Star Trek novelist and author of The Fabulist introduces us to such characters as General Drool, the expectorating ghoul...a fairy who has been punished by being turned into a bird... and a gnome named Runt who fancies himself a great leader but isn't. I think you might enjoy this story, but be on the lookout for a sequel.

EDIT: This is actually the first book in a trilogy. The other two books are titled The Troll Queen and The Troll Treasure. My progress through the series has been held up, predictably, by a bit of difficulty finding the middle book. No worries; all things in good time. Meanwhile, Vornholt has over 60 titles to his name, including How to Sneak into the Girls' Locker Room, Gone Fishin, and novels relating to Final Fantasy, Babylon 5, Earth 2, Dinotopia, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and every possible permutation of the Star Trek brand. He has also written a nonfiction book about, and titled, Mummies.

No comments: