The Troll King
by John Vornholt
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.
Recommended Age: 10+
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