Ranger's Apprentice: The Burning Bridge

 

The evil lord Morgarath has been quiet and brooding in the Mountains of Rain and Night for sixteen years. But now ... he is planning to deal Araluen one final blow.

Will, Horace, and Gilan are traveling to the nation of Celtica to evoke a special treaty citing that Celtica is to aid Araluen in a time of war. On their way to a meeting with the ruler of Celtica, they stumble upon groups of villages that are completely deserted. All they inhabitants have presumably been killed or fled. But why?

Soon, Will, Horace, and a girl named Evanlyn, find that Morgarath has found a way through the treacherous Mountains of Rain and Night into Araluen. He is building a bridge. A bridge he could use to trap the army of Araluen at the Plains of Uthal. If done as the three teenager's believe, Araluen will be destroyed. And they are the only ones who know about it?

Can Will, Horace, and Evanlyn save Araluen from the murderous Morgarath? Or will the evil lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night finally have his revenge on the kingdom that banished him?

 

 

 

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

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

 

There isn't really much to talk about in this book other than the following: Morgaraths bridge, Will's improved Ranger skills, Evanlyn's identity, Horace's adept skills at combat, and Halt's feelings for Will.

And so, to bring up the first of these points: Morgarath's bridge.

This was a briliiant idea that was poorly done. Morgorath has all the strategy planned out: capture Caltic miners, have force of Skandians attack from north, have fake battle plans captured by Araleun, and then have his own army cross the bridge and attack the Araluen's from behind. That is probably one of the tactically best plans I have seen or read about in a book.

But then he went ahead and ruined it bu not posting any type of guard for the bridge. You would think that if your whole plan relied on the presence of a said bridge, you would defend that bridge geavily. But no, he left it wide open for Will, Horace, and Evanlyn walka round, spying on his forces, and setting fire to the structure.

That single error makes the plan one of the worst plans actually gone ahead with in a book. And as Morgorath later finds out ... it was probably the worst idea of his life.

 

But lets all remeber, it was Will's brilliance and Ranger training that got the bridge discovered in the first place. Had it not been for Will's ranger training, as well as his natural curiosity, he, Horace and Evanlyn would never have followed the Wargals or found the bridge. And so Araluen owes Will yet a second time.

At the battle of the bridge, we also see the progression of Will's archery and combat skills. At the beginning of the book, Will shoots at and misses a wargal and this cuases him to begin to doubt is true abilities as a Ranger. Nether the less, he prove shimself when defending Evanlyn from the Skandians at the bridge battle. He probably would have killed them all too had it not been for a well thrown rock from one of the northerners.

 

From there, Will and Evnalyn are captured, levaing Horace to flee back to the Plains of Uthal and warn the King that the battle plans are fakes but also that the bridge is destroyed (the king did not even there was a bridge at this point though). Shortly afterwards, the main battle occurs and, Morgarath, knowing he has lost, challenges the kingdom of Araluen to a duel. As it so happens, young apprentice Horace steps up and challenges the superior warrior.

And so begins the battle that eventually ends in thd defeat of Morgarath. But the way it is done shows something of Horace's charcter. Even though he is completely outmatched, Horace uses his own intellegence to force Morgarath from his horse (Horace's was else where at this point) and to use the double-knife defense (which Gilan had shown him and Will just a week prior) to defeat the evil lord. And from this battle, we see that, while Horace is quite adept with a sword, he remains quite intelligent and continues to think clearly even the midst of battle, something that is quite useful in later books.

 

But now lets discuss Evanlyn. It is Gilan who first begins to suspect that the girl is not who she truly is. At first, he tells Will that he thinks hse may be the 'lady' that she claims to have traveled with. But it is King Duncan who confirms that Evanlyn was the name of his daughter's maid. And so we suspect for sometime that she mat really, truly be just a simple maid. But then it is Gilan, after a long sleep, who realizes that the descriptions of the Evanlyn described by Duncan, and the one he saw don;t match up. And so we now can almost confirm that Evanlyn is Princess Cassandra (but this is not fully revealed until Book 3). But this leaves open the questions of: What was the Pricness doing in Celtica? Was he party actually attacked by Wargals? And where did she become so resourceful at setting fires, etc.?

And that leaves us with the last topic for discussion: Halt and Will.

 

At the beginning of the book, Baron Arald is told that Halt has become unruly as of late. Throwing people into moats, etc. Why? It is revealed when Halt goes on a trip with Alyss, that he actually enjoyed having Will as an apprentice and genuinely care about and for him. This is very much confirmed at the end of the book, when Halt vows to find Will in Skandia, and at the beginning of Book 3.

 

With that, 'The Burninh Bridge' is complete. Continue on with the story of Will, Evanlyn, Horace, and Halt in Book 3, The Icebound Land.