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Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 8: The Kings of Clonmel

Review

Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 8: The Kings of Clonmel

The annual Ranger Gathering brings together all the rangers across Araluen for information swapping, testing of apprentices, and other festivities. Will Treaty has come to enjoy such gatherings, as they are an opportunity to escape the listlessness of his sleepy fife and catch up with his old mentor, Halt. Will usually learns what is happening around the kingdom and even manages to crack jokes at Halt’s expense. Except this time Halt is nowhere to be found, and Will is about to have his position in the Rangers changed --- forever.

Will learns that he and Halt have been reassigned to form a Special Task Group to handle special circumstances that may arise from time to time. He is eager at the thought of working with Halt again and his good friend Horace, the knight, and is plunged right into an adventure when Halt returns with some troubling news. The Outsiders, a religious fanatical group, have popped up in the southern kingdom of Hibernia and threaten to overtake all six kingdoms located there. Once Hibernia is conquered, the Outsiders will stop at nothing to take over Araluen.

The Outsiders profess to serving the god Alseiass, who draws its strength from precious metal, especially gold. Most people do not give up gold easily, so the Outsiders have devised a scheme to manipulate villages into giving up its riches. The Outsiders claim that Alseiass will provide protection to a village as long as they provide gold. When villages refuse, the Outsiders’ secret army attacks and destroys everything in its path. Stories spread from village to village, and eventually people become scared, desperate, or loyal followers of Alseiass.

Halt, Horace and Will have their work cut out for them as they discover that five of the six kingdoms have been conquered by the Outsiders. All that is left is the kingdom of Clonmel, which so happens to be Halt’s birthplace, and it is on the brink of collapse. Tennyson, the leader of the Outsiders, has already manipulated King Ferris and is on the cusp of taking control of the kingdom. Tennyson believes he has thought of everything, but he has never come up against the skill and wisdom of a Ranger.

As Horace, Will and Halt prepare to battle against the Outsiders, Halt reveals a secret hidden deep in his past that could potentially change everything. In the midst of sword fights, assassination attempts and Ranger cunningness is an ending that will leave the reader clamoring for more.

John Flanagan always does an excellent job focusing on the heart of the entire series: the relationship among Will, Halt and Horace. While all three have been on numerous adventures together, it is the bond of friendship that holds them all together. Flanagan hints in the book that these characters are growing older and therefore their roles are changing. It will be interesting to see how these relationships are ultimately defined as the series heads for its ninth installment in October.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on September 6, 2011

Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 8: The Kings of Clonmel
by John Flanagan

  • Publication Date: September 6, 2011
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin
  • ISBN-10: 0142418579
  • ISBN-13: 9780142418574