The Battle for Skandia (Ranger’s Apprentice, book 4), by John Flanagan

John Flanagan, meningitis an Australian, syphilis has written a popular and successful children’s fantasy series set in an imaginary world with many parallels to our own. I reviewed the first three books in this series here; the fourth one was released on March 20th of this year. Of course, in Australia, book SEVEN was released in December of LAST year. BOOK SEVEN. Not cool, Philomel. Not cool. I got plans, though . . . and friends in down-under places . . .

Will, the Ranger’s Apprentice of the title, and Evanlyn were last left in a cabin somewhere in Skandia. They’re from Araluen, a country with significant parallels to England. Skandia, of course, parallels the Scandinavian countries; Gallica is France; Celtica is Ireland; Teutland is Germany. Will and Evanlyn (that’s not her real name, but it’s not important at this moment) were captured by the Skandians during a war in Araluen; they’ve escaped, with a little bit of help from a jarl named Erak. Will’s apprentice-master, Halt, and an old friend (Horace, who is in Battle (knight) school), have left Araluen to come to search for them; Horace has built up quite a reputation and actually a good deal of skill on the trip. Early on, Evanlyn goes out to check the snares, and the Temu’jai capture her. The Temu’jai are from the steppes down south; I assume they’re some variation on Tartars or Mongolians. Will goes after her, and Halt and Horace find all of them at the same time. They rescue Evanlyn from the Temu’jai, and meet up with Erak. Halt realizes that the Temu’jai are trying to take over Skandia, and they realize that Skandia’s normal berzerker hack-and-slash school of battle just isn’t going to cut it against the cavalry . . . but will Skandia listen to Halt? And why would Halt help Skandia, when Skandia and Araluen are enemies? Continue reading The Battle for Skandia (Ranger’s Apprentice, book 4), by John Flanagan