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Ranger's Apprentice, Book 9: Halt’s Peril

Review

Ranger's Apprentice, Book 9: Halt’s Peril

Will, Halt and Horace have successfully run Tennyson and his religious cult, The Outsiders, out of the southern kingdom of Clonmel --- but that doesn’t mean the threat is over. Like all fanatical leaders, Tennyson has simply packed up and moved on to locate a new place to begin his swindling: Will’s home kingdom of Araluen. Before they can even dream of catching up with Tennyson, Will, Halt and Horace first have to secure passage across the dangerous waters surrounding Palisade Reef and escape a band of smugglers who are hot on their trail.

Expert shots with a bow and arrow are difficult enough, but imagine shooting on a rocking boat with wind, rain and the impending threat of running into a dangerous reef. For Will and Halt, it’s just another day as a Ranger. They have bigger issues to deal with anyway, as Tennyson and the Outsiders have already started rounding up new followers and are slowly starting to infiltrate Araluen. Tennyson also knows that Will, Halt and Horace are right behind him, so he dispatches two deadly Genovesan assassins to rid himself of the Rangers.

Before the Genovesan assassins can fulfill their mission, though, Will and Halt immediately recognize the danger, and a deadly cat-and-mouse game ensues. Deep within a petrified forest, Halt decides on a risky plan that could kill him. With Will lurking in the shadows behind, Halt will be the scapegoat and the live target for the Genovesans. At first, Halt’s plan is executed brilliantly. Will manages to sneak up on the assassins while Halt draws their attention. Only after the Rangers fire their arrows do they realize their mistake. Both Will and Halt shoot the same Genovesan, leaving the other assassin the opportunity to fire his weapon --- at Halt.

After the initial scare of being shot, Halt discovers that the Genovesan’s arrow barely nicked him, leaving a small flesh wound. Will and Horace are grateful that he is still alive after coming so close to losing their great mentor and leader. Halt is business as usual as the three friends continue their search for Tennyson, but something isn’t right. He begins to issue orders that don’t make sense, starts calling Will and Horace by different names, and eventually collapses into unconsciousness. To their horror, Will and Horace discover that the arrow was poisoned, and he is slowly dying.

With time running out, Will and Horace are left with few options. Will immediately leaves to find his old friend Malkallam the Sorcerer for a cure. Malkallam is three days away, though, and Halt could be dead by then. Horace is left to care for Halt, but the remaining Genovesan assassin lurks in the distance, and Horace waits for the end to come at any moment.

John Flanagan has always held the Rangers in such high esteem, both in skill and wisdom, it often seems that nothing can ever go wrong. Sure, the Rangers often go to plan B, but they always appear a step ahead of their enemy. Not this time! For the first time, Flanagan really shows the humanity of the Rangers and the brutal reality of the danger they experience on a daily basis. In such instances, you often learn what people are really made of. The strength of the Ranger’s Apprentice series is in the strong bond among the characters and their devotion and loyalty to each other. The good news is that there is one final book in the series coming out early next year.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on October 5, 2010

Ranger's Apprentice, Book 9: Halt’s Peril
(Ranger's Apprentice #9)
by John Flanagan

  • Publication Date: March 20, 2012
  • Genres: Adventure, Children's, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books
  • ISBN-10: 0142418587
  • ISBN-13: 9780142418581