Publishing Date: April 2014
Publisher Description: In an isolated valley, a small tribe of humans is dying from a terrible illness.
There are rumors, however, that the trolls of Troll Mountain, the valley’s fearsome overlords, have found a cure for the illness: a fabulous elixir.
When his sister is struck down by the disease and his tribal leaders refuse to help him, an intrepid youth named Raf decides to defy his tribe and do the unthinkable: he will journey alone to Troll Mountain and steal the elixir from the dreaded trolls.
But to get to Troll Mountain, Raf will have to pass through dangerous swamps and haunting forests filled with wolves, hobgoblins and, worst of all, the ever-present danger of rogue trolls …
Review: No effort was made in developing the cover art.
This is the first in the series of 3 novellas (short stories). I say short stories, because it was dam short. I doubt that 3 serialized novellas will make a whole and viable novel, but we shall see….
I have been a big fan of Reilly’s works, especially the scarecrow series. Most of his novels have these intricate mazes with hidden traps to figure out. The hero usually is smarter than most of his cohorts and puts others before himself. We see that the author has not abandoned his formula in this novella. Raf is a runt with a heart of gold, and of course is smart and can climb anywhere (see where this is going??). He saves a rogue Troll who is stuck in the clinging mud. Dum the Troll is much like Raf in that he is smarter than his brethren and smaller in stature. Raf, Dum and Ko (a wise old man living in the badlands) set out to find a cure for the existing malady that everyone in the valley suffers from. So Dum spelled backwards is Mud (stuck in it). Ko, is Ok meaning good guy and Raf is Far, as in going on a quest to a distant land. Funny. Ha.
Because of the nature of novellas, the character development and story-line get compressed and the dialogue seeks to fill you in on this world in a literal progression. Comes off stilted but the author manages to make it work as we are quickly escorted into the adventure.
I usually don’t rate novellas in a series but will attempt to give this one a score based on the limited scope of the novella and what may come after. It is not hard to guess what will happen in the ensuing series and assume it will become more entertaining due to the high risks that will occur in the maze of traps.