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Langrish’ second offering in the ‘Troll’ series again focuses on Peers Ulfsson, who, in the earlier book, escaped from his two brutal uncles. Now their disused mill is an eerie landmark, occupied by two lubbocks, creatures even lower than the trolls who are using the meal to grind bones for bread to be served at a feast to celebrate the birth of a troll prince.
The book opens dramatically as Peers’s friend Bjørn’s wife, a seal woman, returns to the sea. Efforts on the part of Peers and his new family of Ralf, Gudrun and their children to find the missing wife and restore her to Bjørn and her baby are, however, only part of the action in a narrative which moves briskly along, providing readers with plenty of interest, and some fun too, especially in the later pages when babies are swapped and various mix-ups occur in efforts to circumvent the predations of the trolls and creepy Granny Greenteeth who wants to take the seal woman’s baby for her own evil ends. The lubbocks are nasty, but pantomime figures too, bathetic when one of them aspires to being human.
In between all of this, Peers decides to become a miller and get the old mill going again. Of course neither trolls nor lubbocks approve of this, and Langrish takes the opportunity to layer on plenty of shivery moments as Peers, Ralf and Hilde, Ralf’s daughter, explore the potential of the old building. Peers still cares for Hilde, but the answer to whether Hilde will return his affections or wait until Bjørn’s brother, Arnë, returns from his fishing voyage out of Hammerhaven has to wait until the next book in a series that offers its readers plenty of action, atmosphere and characters with whom they can empathise.