- Hardcover: 374 pages
- Publisher: Pyr; First Edition edition (June 3, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591023130
- ISBN-13: 978-1591023135
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,885,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Prodigal Troll Hardcover – June 3, 2005
Young Claye is the infant son of Lord Gruethrist, smuggled out of the castle before it fell in one of those bloody feudal wars that are the plot springs of so many fantasy novels. Unfortunately, Claye's caretakers are killed, and he survives only through the kindness of a bereaved female troll and despite the loud objections of her husband--and a loud troll is very loud indeed. Growing up under the name Maggot, Claye learns a formidable array of survival skills from his neighbors, some of whom are creatures even weirder than trolls. It develops that he wants to win the hand of Lady Portia without using so many of his nonhuman skills that she will wonder what he really is and spurn him. Finlay's short stories have given him a reputation for originality, to which this novel should add reputations for characterization, for world building, and for satire that never goes over the edge into bad taste. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"...should add reputations for characterization, for world-building, and for satire that never goes over the edge into bad taste." -- Booklist May 15, 2005
"Finlay's accounts of troll culture are thoughtful, humorous and entertaining." -- Cecilia Dart-Thornton, author of The Bitterbynde Book 1: The Ill-Made Mute and The Crowthistle Chronicles Book 1: The Iron Tree.
"Reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan A coming of age tale wrapped in an adventure, with wit and insight." -- Dennis L. McKiernan, Author of Once Upon a Summer Day
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This is really a take off on Tarzan, even down to a scene where young Claye rides the back of a saber tooth lion, while whaling away at it with his trusty knife (scavenged from a human camp). the trolls are somewhat intelligent, have a language, can count and understand the concept of time and seasons. However,the true Tarzan would NEVER, EVER go on a raid of a small farming community of humans and assist in the killing of every single person, man, woman and child, which Claye did without too many qualms.
Actually, I lost interest in this book somewhere in the middle, and put it in a box for the library or a charity, so I never actually finished it.
None of the people in this book seemed to have a whole lot of common sense or empathy for others, neither the primitive warriors who took in Claye, or the castle people whom they attack. It is very remeniscent of the white man vs indians, and we all know who lost in the end. Also, there were wizards, magic and evil creatures, just sort of thrown in, since they were really never major players in this book.
- Wendy S. Delmater, Asssociate Editor, Abyss & Apex
This is a humorous and moving tale in the vein of such classics as The Jungle Book and Tarzan. With characterization as the strength of this novel, Finlay has created a fantastic world for this tragic circumstance. Seeing the human world from Maggot's troll mindset, invokes times of humor as well as drama in a realistic way. Well, as realistic as a world where trolls and magic are the norm.
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. And I look forward to the next, in which the ending of The Prodigal Troll leaves wide open for a sequel.
"The Prodigal Troll," based on a previously published short story, is the tale of a boy who winds up living amongst trolls, growing up knowing only troll ways and trying to overcome the obstacles he faces due to his frailties in comparison to his massive peers. The book combines elements of adventure, fantasy, and politics, all delivered with a wry wit that adds uniqueness to the tale.
There are things about the story I'd like to have been elaborated upon further, like the troll society itself, where the interaction between the boy (dubbed Maggot) does everything he can to truly become one of them, but ultimately fails. In fantasy, I most look for the elements of worldbuilding and characterization to drive the tale, and Finley delivers these very well, although I wish there were even more. I particularly wanted more insight into the three gods who rule over the world, and the magic through which humans can manipulate their powers. The one time when it seemed that the secrets of this were about to be revealed to Maggot, the wizard about to educate him is murdered in mid-sentence. And later on, Maggot manipulates this very magic through charms worn around his neck. By committing a simple act, the charms perform their magic all on their own. Like the book as a whole, it was an interesting and entertaining twist, but still left me wanting to know more.
I think it's safe to say that there will likely be a sequel, and I'm very much looking forward to it. I just hope that the author builds on the foundation he's laid here, and takes us deeper into this mysterious and fun new world.
- Gregory Bernard Banks, author of "Phoenix Tales: Stories of Death & Life"
Years later, as an adult he finds his way back to the lands of Man - only to find he has little in common with the people living there, despite physical appearances. The lands of Man he finds are lands of war, and in social processes have no advantage over that of the Trolls.
Although I liked Maggot and found him an intelligent character, in the end this book did not really appeal to me. Too derivative in some ways of the old Noble Savage ideas. While it is true that many hunter gatherer societies are often more truly democratic than our own, an empire with its attendant beaucracy is not always inherently an evil thing either - and this book seems to play heavily to those themes. I liked the ending to this novel, but I know its not a book I'd read again.