The Land of the Silver Apples

Infobox Book | Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.com
name = The Land of the Silver Apples


image_caption = First edition, August 2007
author = Nancy Farmer
cover_artist = Gene Mollica
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Children's Fantasy novel
publisher = Atheneum Books for Young Readers
release_date = August 21, 2007
media_type = Print (Hardback)
pages = 496 pgs.
preceded_by = The Sea of Trolls
followed_by = The Islands of the Blessed - will be published sometime in 2009

"The Land of the Silver Apples" is a fantasy novel by Nancy Farmer, released on August 21, 2007. It is a sequel to "The Sea of Trolls", and a sequel, "The Islands of the Blessed", is to be released in 2009.

Plot

In this novel, we find Jack back in his village, at the start of the new year. The bard calls for a "need fire", a ceremony that must be performed by a young girl, to reverse the bad omens of the past year. Lucy, Jack's younger sister, is to be the girl, but she breaks the bard's rules and spoils the ritual, renewing the danger to the village.

Jack is suspended from home after freeing Pega, a slave with money he earned but hid from his father, who called him disloyal. He now lives with the Bard. Jack begins training as a bard; however, just when his bardic skills are growing, his mother calls him back home. Lucy, his sister, has become uncontrollable. Because her father has been saying that she is a lost princess, Lucy is acting like one and is treating her parents like peasants. But Father suddenly admits that Lucy actually is a lost princess and not his real daughter at all. His real daughter, Hazel, was traded with Lucy by hobgoblins. The Bard suggests that even if the uncontrollable Lucy isn't Jack's real sister, they should cure her.

To cure Lucy, the Bard, Jack, and Pega take the girl to Father Swein's (St. Fillians) monastery, near the fortress of Din Guardi. When they arrive, Jack is horrified by the brutal methods of exorcism at the monastery and he tries to rescue Lucy from the monks. Using his magical powers, he accidentally causes an earthquake, in the course of which Lucy is kidnapped by the Lady of the Lake and the holy well at St. Fillians becomes dry. Yffi, the king of Din Guardi, imprisons Jack's father and orders Jack to go underground and call upon the Lady of the Lake to restore water to the well.

A slave named Brutus accompanies Jack and Pega as they travel through the tunnels. They travel for several days, and come across a small tunnel that has no air current. Forgetting the Bard's warning of these tunnels, they go in, and encounter a horrific monster called a Knucker. The Knucker is destroyed by Jack's magic, but Brutus is separated from them. Jack and Pega awaken on the outskirts of Elfland, a magical place in which hunting by humans is forbidden. The two travelers continue around, looking for Brutus, and find that each morning after they wake, food appears nearby them. As they continue forward, supplied by an unknown person, they come across Jack's old friend, Thorgil, a Norse shield maiden who was trapped by the Forest Lord after hunting. Jack and Pega free her rapidly, and she joins them after telling her story. Thorgil had been raiding with her friends when they came across a beach. On the beach was an entrance to the Elfland, and Thorgil was chosen to explore the tunnel. The cousin of their King was also along; he was a spoiled raider who demanded the highest honors and best plunder. He led the way, heavily armed, and found a tunnel with no air current. Thorgil warned him not to go in, but he ignored her and ventured in. Thorgil heard him screaming and saw a Knucker kill Heimdall, the spoiled raider. At this point, the earthquake that Jack caused struck, and the Knucker was crushed while Thorgil was swept into Elfland. She wandered around, and a fawn laid down in front of her. Oblivious to the rules of the land, Thorgil swiftly slit its throat. However, she was incapable of snapping any branches off trees for a fire, and when the forest started to attack her, she fled, terrified. After she exhausted herself, she was slowly buried under the moss. It wasn't able to completely cover her, since her Rune of Protection saved her, but she was starving to death when Jack and Pega arrived and saved her.

At this point, the trio go to sleep, but after a fight between Pega and Thorgil, Thorgil and Jack sleep under a rock together while Pega goes off alone. Jack wakes up in the middle of the night and finds that Pega is surrounded by ugly creatures. He quietly wakes Thorgil up, and the two go to see what's going on. The creatures reveal that they are hobgoblins and were supplying the group, and that their King, Bugaboo, is in love with Pega. They take the trio underground with them, where they hold them captive. However, some of the hobgoblins, led by Nemesis, Bugaboo's closest friend, release the captives so that Pega doesn't stop Bugaboo from ruling well. The hobgoblins send the three to the heart of Elfland, where the Elves hold them captive for an unknown period of time. There, they meet Father Severus, a monk who had been captured along with Jack by Thorgil and her foster father several years ago. They also meet the Abbot of the monastery in St. Fillians, and one of his victims. Brutus is also encountered, as a servant to the elves. The elves soon choose Father Severus as a sacrifice to what Severus calls Satan. While the elves lead the captives to be sacrificed, Brutus passes a single inflammatory mushroom and firemaking tools to Jack. The elves begin cruel games while they wait for Satan to appear. He appears at the zenith of the moon in the sky, and begins to pick a sacrifice - Thorgil runs forward and punches him when he considers her, distracting him, but lighting her hand on fire. As she frantically begins attempting to put it out, the victim of the Abbot runs forward and throws the Abbot to Satan. Satan, enraged, consumes the Abbot and slays the victim as well. At this point, Jack lights a the mushroom, and the flames, which are the only real things in Elfland, dispel the elves' illusions and reveal who they truly are. Satan, actually a monstrous Knucker, takes an elf instead of the captives, and withdraws into the earth, while the Elves attempt to recreate their illusions and hide their horribly aged forms. The captives escape to the surface, taking the only elf with a soul, Ethna. Brutus has already gone, bringing water with him, to conclude the quest. However, the captives are captured by Yffi. He is half-Kelpie, and loves the taste of hobgoblin. While he is distracted with them, Jack escapes with Thorgil and Pega, to get aid from below the fortress. They come across haystack like creatures, which they free by sacrificing Jack's staff. As the creatures swarm into the castle and break its defenses, Jack and Thorgil share a kiss. The hobgoblins, Jack, Thorgil, and Pega then escape as the Forest Lord begins to rip the fortress apart. They go to the village, where Brutus, a descendant of Lancelot, has taken charge. Jack notes Thorgil's beauty as they retrieve Jack's father and begin to return home. Thorgil, who was abandoned by the Norse, thinking she was dead, accompanies them. The hobgoblins then leave, as Pega rejects Bugaboo, and the book concludes with Jack relaxing alongside Thorgil, his father, the Bard, and Pega.


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