Books by Katherine Langrish

THE SHADOW HUNT by Katherine Langrish
Released: June 1, 2010

Langrish blends medieval Catholicism and old folk beliefs seamlessly with the supernatural. In late-12th-century England, on the Welsh border, young Wolf flees from a monastery, desperate for a life safer and wider than a browbeaten monkhood. On the desolate landscape, a hunt erupts—Lord Hugo, dogs, wolves, horses and an eerie, naked elf, who vanishes into a hill. Seeing a position as squire as his escape route, Wolf squeezes underground and drags out the pale, ferocious elf-child to impress Hugo. Hugo believes elves hold his dead wife captive and charges Wolf with teaching terrified Elfgift to speak so she can guide Hugo to reclaim his beloved. Wolf befriends Hugo's daughter, Nest; they work together to gentle Elfgift, but Brother Thomas, Wolf's brutal former master, and Halewyn, a dangerously charismatic jongleur who never takes off his donkey-eared hood, stir up violent chaos. Wolf and Nest's religious faith never wavers as they puzzle out what's supernatural, what's dangerous and what's simply emotional yearning in a narrative that masterfully allows every possibility to exist. Never telling and always showing, this spooky yet utterly grounded story features pitch-perfect prose, suspense and redemption. (Historical fantasy. 10-14)Read full book review >
TROLL BLOOD by Katherine Langrish
Released: June 17, 2008

Readers of the Trollsvik saga will realize from the first chapter (in which two Mi'kmaq Indians watch a Viking crew murder a man) that all will not go well when Peer and Hilde go a-Viking with Gunnar and his violent, quarrelsome son, Harald. The plot, lent tension by the revelation of secrets about Gunnar's past, will rivet readers' attention, and the exciting climax is satisfying, if a little pat. This final book in the series is as dark as the others and also considerably bloodier. Langrish's technique here involves a judicious manipulation of historical fact and folklore. Although this works well when describing Viking culture, her use of this stylistic method with Native Americans and their folklore, although quite effective as a fictional technique, may raise questions of cultural appropriation. (The list of sources for both Norse and Native American information is extensive, but many are quite old.) Buy this quick and exciting novel for the fans—then recommend Nancy Farmer's Sea of Trolls (2004) and Joanne Harris's Runemarks (2008). (Fantasy. 10-13)Read full book review >
TROLL MILL by Katherine Langrish
Released: Feb. 1, 2006

In this sequel to Troll Fell (2004), a more mature Peer Ulfsson struggles with identity, disillusionment and unrequited love. The story begins with mysteries: Bjorn's wife pushes her baby daughter into Peer's arms before casting herself into the sea; the mill, deserted since Peer's uncles became trolls, runs at full throttle long after dark; and sheep disappear from the mountain—usually a sign that the trolls are on the move. Then it progresses through a variety of folkloric tropes and terrors—lubbers and trolls are back and selkies are a new addition—to a neat ending. Langrish really knows how to construct a plot, keep tension mounting and provide a satisfying narrative climax. That's not to say that she neglects character development. Peer, the foster family that took him in, and even the Troll Princess and her monstrous son, are well enough developed to keep readers involved in the suspenseful story. Fans of the first volume will be happy to have this companion, while those new to the tale will be able to follow the story with ease. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
TROLL FELL by Katherine Langrish
Released: June 1, 2004

As his father's funeral pyre burns, Peer Ulfsson, to his horror, meets a step-uncle whom his father has never mentioned. Baldur Grimson removes Peer from his home village to live with him and his twin, Grim, in an old mill outside the hamlet of Trollsvik, directly under the trolls' mountain. The twins—fearsome, greedy, and mean—treat Peer cruelly. However, Peer befriends local humans and other supernatural creatures who provide him with information and support him in thwarting the twins' plans. Although she keeps the historical details accurate, Langrish subordinates history to fantasy in this rousing middle-grade debut set in medieval Norway. The plot and subplots race along and wrap up neatly and satisfactorily in a nice, twisty ending. Even though the tale incorporates many elements common to fiction about orphans, the clearly delineated, memorable characters transcend stereotype. Goodhearted, resourceful Peer's courage, loyalty to his friends, and generosity will win reader's hearts and will ensure the appeal to readers of Emily Rodda's Rowan of Rin series and the Lemony Snickets. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >