Ranger's Apprentice: The Battle for Skandia

 

Having escaped slavery in Hallasholm and the addictoove effects of warmweed, Will and Evanlyn must focus on finding their way back to their home country of Araluen. But their plans of return are spoiled when Evanlyn is captured by an unknown adversary.

With the help of Halt and Horace, they save the crown princess from her captors but uncover a disturbing truth. A fierce warrior clan, the Temujai, have invaded Skandia. And with access to the Skandian ships, the Temujai could laucnh a full scale invasion of Araluen.

Now, the three foreigners must team up with the Skandians to prtrect not only Skandia, but Araluen as well, from the most formidable fighting force n the western war. But how can a group of fifteen hundred soldiers, trained in one-on-one combat, defend their home from an army of six thousand archers?

Can Halt, Will, Horace, and Evanlyn save Skandia from the Temujai? Or will Skandia fall, leaving Araluen, in the Temujai's sights?

 

 

 

/*** THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***\

**/** SPOILERS ARE PRESENT **\**

 

This is one my favorite books in the series (along with 9, 10, and 12) simply because of the dire circumstance and intense fight scenes that protrayed in it. Through the first hundred pages, we see that Skandia is dire straits. There pride won't let them abandon Hallasholm to the Temujai. But their fighting abilities pale in comprison to those of Temujai. So the reader is left with the question ... What the hell is going to happen here? And that makes the rest of the story interesting as we see the Skandian's rise to the challenge of defending their homeland from the invading army/

 

This books is also full of helpful coincidences for all Araulen friends. First, Halt and Horace stumble upon Will and Evanlyn, right when the Temujai are getting ready to kill them both. Second, Halt just so happens to know exactly how the Temujai fight. Third, Evanyln steals away on Slagor's ships, right when he goes to talk to the Temujai about a betrayal? Fourth, Erak just so happens to have a hundred plus bows and thousans of arrows to train slaves with? And fifth, Ragnak just so happens to die in battle before completeing his Vallasvow against Evanlyn. And if we hunted deeper we could probably find some other ones too. But those were the important ones. They didn't necessarily take away from the book, they just made Flanagan's writing and imagination jobs easier.

This is the book where we start to see more of Will's intelligence and Ranger prowas occur. It was his idea to train a force of archers to fire upon the Temujai during the battle. And thta probably saved all their lives. He also trained the force completely by himself, and they were incredibly effective. In the battle, he picks off probably twenty or so Kaijan, demonstrating his increasingly accurate archery abilities, and saves Evanyln with a perfectly thrown knife. Not to mention him guarding Horace for a portion of the battle.

We also see more of Halt's above average intelligence and tactionry. He knew exactly how the Temujai would fight, as well as how to stop it from working. He took the Temujai's bait, and then destroyed the attacking force with hidden troops. Brilliant!! He also figured how to get Evanlyn, a little bit more time, so as to see Ragnak die and the Vallasvow broken (he also figured out how to get her away even if he Ragnak remained alive). Halt figured out how to prove Slagor a traitor. He figured out that disrupting the Temujai supply lines with raids would by the Skandians time to prepare for the battle. And he figured out the best place for the attack to place. It was one of the better displays of tactionry displayed in the books (along with in Book 6 and 10).

And that leaves us with the battle. First, it was epic. It would make a wonderful movie scene with dramatic music. The chaos that Flanagan portrays the battle as being, reminds a lot of the Lord of the Rings battles. And I imagined them being filmed in a similar manner. The tactivs worked to a tee. Will's archers were perfect. And everything resolved itseld as needed, especially in Evanlyn's case.

 

And finally, the banquet at the end of the book. The one in which Will is offered admittance into the Royal Scouts. This is the second time that presumed royalty has been offered to Will, and he has passed it by both times. That says a lot about his commitment to the Ranger Corps. And we also know the offer was partially made to please Evanlyn, because we can assume she was unhappy with Will's decision on the matter.

I have read the rest of the books, so I know how the relationships all turn out, but at this point I don't know whether or not Evanlyn likes Will as more than a friend, or if she simply wanted him to stay as a friend. But either way, it is clear that she is devloping some amount of a relationship with Horace.

As for Will, we see more of his relationship feelings in the next book: The Sorcerer of the North.