Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are kidnapped by Viking berserker Olaf One-Brow, and face several months of hardship and enslavement during their land and sea travels. Suggested as “a quest in the spirit of the Lord of the Rings”, and hailed as one of the best children’s books of 2004, I thought this novel just might be worth reading.
Sea of Trolls took me on an amazing adventure with Vikings, trolls and other fascinating creatures. This book is lush with vivid descriptions and edge-of your seat action. The characters are richly crafted and the storyline is engaging and never boring. However, I was shocked by the violence and conflicted by the likeability the author gave to the notorious Vikings (equivalent to the terrorists of today). In one very disturbing scene the evil Olaf slits the throat of an old woman and throws her overboard, only to later carve little wooden toys for Lucy to play with.
Christianity is the religious foundation of Jack’s family, and his father (Giles Crookleg) had hoped to be a priest in his younger days. Giles is portrayed as a sorrowful man, not too smart, close-minded, and even extremist with his beliefs. The practicing scalds and bards (basically druid priests) are the ones who are given attention and credibility in the story. Drawing their power from the “life force”, these guys can do amazing things like control the weather, call down fire, and even embody other living creatures.
The Sea of Trolls is Norse legends and druidism brought to life like never before. In fact, all religious beliefs seem to be endorsed as just another way to whatever afterlife you believe in.
It may be an adventurous, even humorous book, but any book that empowers an ancient religion making mine appear crippled needs careful scrutiny. I question what my children can possibly gain by reading it. Good story, good writing, yes, but presentation of content extremely questionable for homeschooling Christian families.