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I love books that show how ancient peoples were caught between their old gods and Christianity. In the book, THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES by Nancy Farmer, she shows one young boy's life during 790 AD Britain.

Thirteen-year-old Jack misses his old adventures. He's finding life back in his village, as a bard-in-training is boring.

Then at the need-fire ceremony, his sister wears a necklace of metal that is forbidden. Things go from bad to worse. After Jack's father tries to buy Pega, a slave girl- Jack is upset. Doesn't his father remember how he was sold into slavery? Jack ends up buying Pega and frees her. Instead of being thanked, Jack's father kicks him out of his home. And Pega follows him around.

Later Jack is asked to come back and finds his sister is delusional about being a princess. He goes on a pilgrimage were an exorcism on Lucy goes terribly wrong. Jack is angered at how corrupt the monks are with those who come for help. He slams his ash wood staff down and causes a major earthquake. But this also releases the Lady of the lake who kidnaps his sister.

Jack finds out his sister is one of the Fair Folk and his real sister was kidnapped by hobgoblins.

Jack goes on a quest to find his real sister and rescue Lucy from the Lady of the lake. Along the way he meets will-o'-the-wisps, hobgoblins, elves--who are fallen angels--Picts, and magical trees that produce honey cakes.

Though I didn't read the first book, THE SEA OF TROLLS, I totally was engaged with this tale. I loved how the author showed how both worlds lived together. Jack is being trained in the ways of his ancestors. His mother and others have embraced the new religion Christianity while retaining some of their old ways. Pega is one character I felt sympathetic for. Shunned by those around her because of her deformity, imagine her shock when a hobgolin sees the beauty within her.

One example of how well the author shows both worlds is how the abbots reverence for the simple facts of God's world were not that different than the Bard's reverence for the life force.

This book has it all--adventure, fairies, old world gods, and an ancient world that is caught between belief in the Old Gods and Christianity. I highly recommend this book. For sure I'll be checking out book one to find out how Jack meet Thorgil and his other adventures.

I can't say it any better than my nine-year-old neighor Adela when she saw me reading THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES at the park yesterday. Her whole face lit up as she asked, "Is that the author of THE SEA OF TROLLS? Ohmigosh, I LOVED THAT BOOK!!!" Yes, I told her. If you loved book one then you'll love this book too!

THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES is a Cybils nominated book.