by Olaf Moriarty Solstrand
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-fi
Release Date: September 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
Gunhild is a private in the Royal Army. She’s headstrong and reckless, but she’s also the best troll hunter in the country, and when a troll gets away with a national treasure, she’s the only person with any chance of getting it back.
Kirabo was on his way home to Aberash after a fulfilled research mission, but he managed to enter the wrong coordinates into his spaceship. Now he and his PA robot are stranded on a far-off planet, and they don’t have enough fuel to get back home.
As genres collide on Troll Island, Earth, the troll hunter and the space explorer have to overcome their differences and work together if they want to survive this fairytale.
Excerpt from Petrified
It was very early in the morning and the sun hadn’t risen yet. But Gunhild was already awake. She didn’t really have a choice: she was a knight in the Royal Army and now she had been commanded to go out and kill a troll. Well, it was perhaps more precise to say that she had volunteered, but why shouldn’t she? It had become all too common for trolls to come down from the mountainside where they lived in order to help themselves to the goats that grazed on the large fields by Einer Fjord. That was bad enough, but in recent weeks, they had started to become more aggressive. A week ago one troll had managed to sneak up to the castle – which stood in the center of the capital – and break a hole in the wall with a boulder. Even though the guards had managed to scare the troll away to prevent it from getting into the castle, they realized that they had to stop the troll before it came back. And so naturally, Gunhild had volunteered – should she just sit back and trust her lethargic colleagues to take care of this? She was the expert. She was perhaps one of the youngest of them, but she was still the most experienced troll killer in the Army. She could handle this.Now she hid behind a boulder outside a cave on Gray Mountain. Gray Mountain was full of caves which made it such a coveted home for a troll. Here they could tuck themselves away and merge in with the boulders. If an inexperienced troll hunter came looking for them, it would be impossible to find the right cave. Trolls were big and heavy and left clear footprints on loose soil, but on bedrock it required many years of experience to find troll tracks. It had taken Gunhild many hours to find the right cave but now she was here.Her plan was the same as always: she had to be able to lure the troll out of the cave and keep it there until dawn. What made it so difficult to kill a troll was that their gray skin was as hard as granite and this made them invulnerable to most weapons – especially inside their caves. Their only weakness was sunlight. It was just an old myth that sunlight made a troll crack or turn to stone, but they did become weaker in sunlight – so weak, in fact, that it was possible for a human of above average strength to kill them. And because even trolls were smart enough not to come out of their caves in broad daylight, you had to trick them to come out just before sunrise and distract them until the sun came up. Even for an experienced knight like Gunhild this was extremely dangerous, but it was the only way. To try and go into their caves – even when the trolls were asleep – was insane.Gunhild looked up at the sky and tried to work out how much time she had. Two or three minutes until sunrise? She should be able to hold on. Time to lure the troll out. Gunhild found a stone on the ground and threw it at the mouth of the cave so it smashed against the rock and then she climbed up on the boulder she had been hiding behind so that she was clearly visible from the cave. She saw that something was moving in the shadows inside, and eventually a troll emerged. The troll was quite burly and, like other trolls, was gray all over to blend in with the mountain, apart from the moss green hair and beard. At about ten feet tall, the troll was almost twice as large as Gunhild and she felt excitement shivering up and down her spine. She held her left hand ready to take hold of the sword, but the troll made no sign of approaching. It looked at her, then it looked up at the sky. It looked as if the troll’s instincts were working, continuously assessing whether there was a threat if it came out of the cave or if it had time to slaughter Gunhild before sunrise. Gunhild started getting impatient – she had no time for this. To lure the troll further out, she pulled the sword six inches out of the scabbard and ran her hand against its edge until she had a large, bleeding wound on the palm of her hand.
She knew there was nothing better at luring a troll than the smell of fresh blood and it was evident from its face that it wasn’t going to hold out much longer.And then it happened – the troll leapt out of the cave opening at full speed towards Gunhild. Gunhild quickly grasped the sword with her good hand and just managed to parry the troll’s blow at her. The edge of the sword sparkled as it struck the rock hard forearm of the troll and he growled in discomfort, as if he had been stung by a mosquito. Gunhild saw the troll raise its other arm to knock her off the boulder and she parried it quickly with the sword. With one eye locked on the troll, she cast a glance around her to spot a better place to stand. The boulder gave her an advantage in that it helped her to equalize their height differences, yet she had to concentrate to hold her balance. Her gaze fell on a knoll in the mountainside approximately three feet above the ground and Gunhild jumped quickly over to it without dropping the sword. The troll turned after her as quickly as it could, aiming to strike her with its right fist. Out of pure reflexes, Gunhild managed to avoid the fist that was larger than her head as it came closer and hit the rock wall behind her. Gunhild felt the adrenaline boiling through her body and she was immediately on her feet again so that she could quickly send several thrusts of her sword at the troll’s chest. The troll grimaced in pain but showed no other signs of weakness.Gunhild tried to climb higher but was careful never to turn her back on the troll. The troll struck at her several times; each time she managed to parry the blow with her sword and each time, sparks flew from the sword as it hit the troll. With each parry Gunhild became more tired. Shouldn’t the sun have risen by now? It was at least five or six minutes since she had managed to lure the troll out and she didn’t know how long she could hold on in this kind of fight against a troll at full strength. As she parried another blow from the troll, she glanced up at the sky. She was startled when she realized what she had overlooked: Gray Bone Ridge. Between her and the sun there was a small peak, so small that she had hardly given it thought, but now that she suddenly found herself in its shadow, she realized how stupid she had been not to take it into consideration. Down in the town the sun was probably already up, but up here, Gray Bone Ridge was in the way and it was probably going to take ten to fifteen minutes before the sun emerged from behind the mountains. Gunhild swallowed hard. She didn’t have the energy to stand here and parry the troll for a quarter of an hour. She wasn’t even sure if the sword could endure it.
About the Author
Olaf Moriarty Solstrand (1982-) is a Norwegian writer and librarian, currently living in Ski, Akershus with two lovebirds, one wife and a hyperactive Twitter account.
Since 2001, he has written scripts for more than sixty Donald Duck comics, and his stories have been published in 29 countries. His first novel, Trolløya, was self-published in 2013.
In 2010 he received the Raptus Award for the work he’s done for Norwegian comics.