The first book in a trilogy of children’s fantasy books.

Publication year: 2002
Format: print
Publisher: Atom
Page count: 216

This is book for older children. It’s set in a fantasy world with ghouls, gnomes, trolls, ogres, and faeries. But it’s set in the land of the “bad guys”, so that’s a bit different than usual.

For centuries, sorcerer Stygius Rex has ruled ogres, trolls, the ghouls, and gnomes in fear. Now, Rex has seen a vision and has decided that he’s going to build a bridge over the Great Chasm, from his land Bonespittle to the Bonny Woods which is home to the ferocious elves and pixies. Of course, Rex intends to conquer that disgustingly forested land. To do that, he needs workers.

Enter our hero Rollo. He’s a fourteen year old troll and one of the apprentices of a master bridge builder. Trolls live under bridges and that’s why the Troll Town has a lot of bridges. Sadly, trolls are also the most oppressed race in this nation and so Rex sends his ogres to kidnap trolls and force them to work. Unfortunate Rollo is the first one to be kidnapped.

Despite being a troll, Rollo is quite a typical main character. He’s not very brave but when needed, he will do the right thing. He’s scared of Rex but he’s basically a good-natured boy who doesn’t like the sorcerer’s plans. The ghoul General Drool also frightens him. And there’s a young troll girl whom he admires and tries to talk to.

It’s a fun, quick read. It’s rather a straightforward story of finding out that things aren’t necessarily as you have been told they are (hmmm… maybe some adults need to (re)learn that as well…) It doesn’t quite end in a cliffhanger but definitely has a hook to the next book.

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