Heroes of the Valley

  • by Jonathan Stroud
  • Narrated by David Thorn
  • 13 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Halli Sveinsson has grown up in the House of Svein, listening to the legends of the heroes as all his forefathers did. His is a peaceful society where the violence of the past has been outlawed and disputes are settled by the Council. But young Halli has never quite seemed to fit in with the others. For starters, he was not at all handsome or tall, like his attractive blond siblings. He's stumpy and swarthy, with a quick mind and aptitude for getting in trouble.Bored with the everyday chores and sheep herding, he can't help himself from playing practical jokes on everyone, from Eyjolf the old servant, to his brother and sister. But when he plays a trick on Ragnor of the House of Hakonsson, he goes too far, setting in motion a chain of events that will forever alter his destiny.Because of it, Halli will have to leave home and go on a hero's quest. Along the way, he will encounter highway robbers, terrifying monsters, and a girl who may finally be his match. In the end, he will discover the truth about the legends, his family, and himself. Jonathan Stroud's new work is a hero's saga and coming-of-age, as well as a surprising look at what bravery really means.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Bound to be a movie someday

An epic adventure fit into one book, this story contains many twists and surprises that would be spoiled by giving any details - Other than that the main character and his befriended ally, a girl his age, discover the truth of a great mystery of their people despite fearful dangers and murderous enemies. The author skillfully plants clues throughout the story which so involves the reader in the unfolding adventure that it practically creates vicarious memories. You actually feel as if you have been through the experience yourself and leaves a definite impression on your thoughts afterwards. I only hope when "they" make the movie "they" don't screw it up, but considering the track record - I definitely recommend not waiting for the film and getting the experience first from the real thing.
5 stars for youth and adult alike.
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- pashopper

To Emulate or Escape from (Swinish) Heroes--

This is an entertaining, fresh take on the pseudo-Icelandic saga fantasy genre, filled with believable and very human characters (even the "villains"), unexpected plot developments, suspenseful and yet funny scenes, and a well-realized world. Author Stroud deftly adapts that genre to the young adult market, depicting an appealing young underdog protagonist struggling to find his place in his world: short, stubby, swarthy, homely, brave, clever, resourceful, and witty Halli. The relationship between Halli and his girl friend Aud is wonderful, for they are well-matched and feisty with and loyal to each other. Aud is a great female character: independent-minded and at least as intelligent, spunky, and humorous as Halli. The interplay between the scary, comical, and imaginative heroic legends that begin each chapter and the real world heroism that Halli must learn and attempt is fascinating. I listened to the book with a delicious sense of not knowing what would happen next but being sure that whatever did happen would be interesting and just right. There is at one point, for example, a brilliant showdown featuring a fever, a lost voice, a revelation, and a fight to the death with a poker, crockery and food-stuffs, a pair of skewers, a fireplace, and tapestries that is worth the price of admission alone.

Reader David Thorn is perfect, reading the story with a rich, dry, almost tongue in cheek tone that makes it feel as if a favorite uncle were telling you exciting legends by the fireplace. All in all a pleasurable and rewarding audiobook.
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- Jefferson "I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2009
  • Publisher: Listening Library