In the final adventure of Nancy Farmer's acclaimed trilogy a malevolent spirit of a vengeful mermaid is wreaking havoc on Jack's village and it's up to him, the old Bard and Thorgril to confront and vanquish the restless draugr. But the task will not be easy and the three find themselves travelling once more with Thorgil's northman brother and his crew into the most dangerous of waters. Their quest to right old wrongs leads them from a village plagued by a hogboon to the fin folk land of Notland and via every danger in-between. Can they escape the perils they face and return in time to help undead spirit to find peace?
This final chapter of the trilogy begun in The Sea of Trolls gathers steam slowly, but has the same enchanting quirkiness of its predecessors. Jack, the apprentice bard, is now 14 and living with Thorgil, the surly shield maiden, and their mentor, the Bard, in his native village after the scarring experiences of their previous adventure. When a draugr, the undead spirit of a wronged mermaid, is roused by the village priest's mystical bell, her need for justice sends Jack and his friends beyond Saxon lands to Notland, the kingdom of the fin folk, as they seek a way to lay the draugr to rest. Farmer's prose flows easily and the nuggets of action are as lively and unexpected as ever. But Jack is confronting a knottier lesson than before: the mystery of how joy and sorrow intertwine. While the meditative pace this story's complexity calls for replaces the narrative drive of the earlier books, it brings other pleasures and creates a satisfying close for the series if indeed this is the end. Ages 10 14.