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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Prodigal Troll by Charles Coleman Finlay

The Prodigal Troll by Charles Coleman Finlay. Amherst, NY: PYR, an imprint of Prometheus Books, 2005. ISBN: 1-59102-313-0

Not a bad effort for a first novel, but not a masterpiece, either. This is the story of a man who is raised by trolls. Through a series of accidents, his caretakers, fleeing a military campaign, are killed, and the infant is found by a troll whose own baby has just died.

Much of the story, naturally, deals with the attempts of the human troll that is the result (a human's body, but a troll's way of thinking, speaking and acting) to rejoin and understand his own kind. In this context, it is fairly typical of the "raised by animals or aliens" genre.

I'm afraid I didn't find the ending, or the resulting title, to be totally convincing. The "noble savage" rejects his human heritage, and returns to the life of the wild, but free. This even after it becomes obvious that he is the heir, a lost child of the highest aristocracy in the land.

No, a more reasonable ending would have required our noble savage to attempt singlehandedly to reform human society by inculcating it with the simpler morality of the trolls. Of course, this would have required a sequel volume, and I suppose that could always happen, even yet. Throwaway decisions, like the one that ends this story, can be just as easily reversed.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it maybe a 6. Slightly recommended for fantasy fans.


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