When Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late. By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne.
Yet when Halt and Crowley arrive in Gorlan, they discover just how close Morgarath’s scheme is to success. Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won.
When I first read about this book, I couldn't believe it! Finally! We get to learn more about Halt's history! Okay well, not really. Not yet at least.
The book starts as Morgarath is starting to take over Araluen. The king is imprisoned "for his own safety" as supposedly Prince Duncan tried to assassinate him. Duncan is off in the wilds of the north raiding and pillaging and causing all sorts of problems. Morgarath managed to fire all the Rangers and in their place put stupid saps.
This is where the story starts, as Crowley and Halt are on the run from Morgarath's soldiers. Of course, they run into mayhem and find new friends. They track down the twelve former Rangers who were fired in hopes of finding Duncan and freeing the king and confronting Morgarath. Things never happen the way they should, though. Concealing themselves inside Gorlan, during a huge tournament that Morgarath has once a year, they wait for the perfect time to take Morgarath down.
Oh, hey this is where Halt meets Lady Pauline :)
I'm thrilled that Flanagan has taken his world in this direction. I loved the original Rangers Apprentice series. I thought the Brotherband Chronicles were awesome. Even though I care absolutely nothing about sailing, I never lost interest in the books. And here we have young Halt and Crowley, trying to save the country, but from the beginning. Love it!