The eccentric collector has come into possession of a mystical skull, and sends an expedition force to the deepest forests of Østerdal to investigate whether the skull could be that of a troll.
14-year-old orphan and errand boy Edvard Frost suddenly finds himself on a train in his role as Professor Wolf's assistant and the guardian of the skull.
Edvard is sure of himself on the streets of Christiania, but among the pine trees, mountains and tough village girls he feels isolated. Out here is a life that he never thought he'd experience – and creatures he never believed existed.
Norway's history teems with trolls and wood nymphs, but where have they gone? Why don't we see them any longer? Where can they be hiding?
Stylish and brutal
‘The winning factor in Løken’s work is the way the narrative and novel form are situated well over 100 years back in time. It creates a retro vibe that is just as full of stylish charm as it is of suspense, and a good dose of troll combat! Most thrilling, however, is how terrifying and quite simply foul the trolls are […] He makes sure to bestow the trolls with a threatening presence that they have long lacked. All the while, Løken has created a highly interesting group to embark upon the dangerous expedition. […] And it is soon revealed that Alexander Løken commands a style and language that is splendidly suited to dealing with the book’s content. Injecting life back into trolls within Norwegian thrillers for children is no simple task, but he carries this off with aplomb. Trollskallen is a characteristically Norwegian fantasy novel, just as original as it is expertly accomplished.’
‘Løken is skilled at building up excitement, and the trepidation quickly creeps up on the reader whether in rainy city streets or deep, dark forests. The author's efficient use of language has much to commend it: concise sentences and good use of perspective frequently make the reader jump when surprises emerge from unexpected places. […] I’m glad that the conclusion paves the way for a sequel.’
A brutal expedition in a Norwegian wonderland
‘Debut author Alexander Løken has written a spirited thriller that makes use of content from Norwegian fairytales and narrative patterns with their foundation in European storytelling traditions. The novel exists comfortably within the genre boundaries on both a stylistic and thematic level. There’s barely a moment for the reader to catch their breath – from start to finish the novel seems to whizz by as good and evil once again pit themselves against one another. […] The plot is convincingly composed, with several threads that must be drawn together; we must hope that the small remaining knots in the intertwining web of narrative threads are detangled in a sequel. Løken has created a thrilling and appealing world.’
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