Troll is a story about a meeting between a clan of Neanderthals and a clan of early modern humans. It begins with an archaeological dig that reveals three bodies buried in a Neanderthal way, but two of them are skeletons belonging to a modern human man and his daughter. This baffles the archaeologists because previously the two races were supposed to have lived at different times. The novel flips between the modern archaeologists and selected men and women from both clans as the author plays out a story that would explain the anomaly.
It’s a poignant story, reminding the reader of how easily fear when whipped to a frenzy by self-serving people can turn a group of people against another. But it also reminds us of how one act of kindness can break down barriers. It also suggests that old stories of trolls and giants may merely be racial prejudice from the times when various kinds of hominids walked the earth.
The characters are strong, the pacing just right and the plot tight; the only problem is a great deal of passive writing and some very strange punctuation. Despite this, however, I found it surprisingly readable and unexpectedly powerful.