Ranger's Apprentice: The Sorcerer in the North
Random House Australia Children's Books
"You haven't reached the castle yet," Will said. "I've got twenty-three arrows in my quiver still, and a further dozen in my packsaddle. And you've got several kilometers to go-all within bowshot of the trees there. Bad shot as I am, I should be able to account for more than half your men. Then you'll be facing the garrison with just ten men" (50-51).
The Sorcerer in the North is the fifth book in the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan. I read the first four books and loved them, so going in I had high hopes for this one. While in my opinion not the best book in the series, this book is still very good. In previous books, Will was an apprentice Ranger. The Rangers are a corps of special soldiers trained in stealth, battle strategy, and archery. They're similar to the Special Forces of the United States military.
The book begins with Will becoming a full fledged Ranger. Starting off, will finds an injured dog and nurses it back to health. He decides to keep it as a pet. This shows Will's compassion. He is a very caring person, hidden behind a tough exterior. A Ranger must appear tough and mean, especially when dealing with enemies. As shown from the quote above. Will is seen as a tough guy with amazing skill, and uses great reasoning when attempting to come to an agreement with the Skandians, basically vikings, who split into individual groups and go on raids for food and money. Referring to the quote above, Will convinced the Skandians not to attack, and also convinced the leader of the castle and land to give the Skandians food, as they would starve if they could not raid, as they were low on resources, and the ride back to Skandia, their homeland, was long. Will did this for two reasons. First, he has a lot of experience with Skandians from previous books. He knows how to deal with them. He helped them win a war, and gets along with them because of this. Therefore, Will decides to not kill the Skandians and also not let them starve. This also shows Will's compassion. Many other Ranger's would have just killed them.
At the end of the first half of the book, Will's friend Alyss arrives at his cabin and instructs him to go to Halt, his former mentor, and Crowley, the leader of the Ranger Corps. They give him a mission to travel to Norgate, a northern part of the country, and go dressed as a jester to gather information. The leader of Norgate got a serious illness, and many believe that a sorcerer may be behind this. This is where the first half of the book concludes. Flanagan goes a great job describing things and creating exciting and vivid scenes. This is a great book, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially those who like fantasy or adventure books.