The Sorcerer of the North

After years of hard work and training under his gruff master, Halt, Will Treaty is now a fully fledged member of the Ranger Corps. He is sent to his fief, a quiet, uneventful place called Seacliff. Nevertheless, Will seems to find excitement almost immediately. On his journey to his new post, he discovers a dying dog who was intentionally struck down with a sword. He patches her up and takes her with him. He later finds out that the dog was owned by John Buttle, who is a constant nuisance to Araluen. This causes more conflict because John Buttle was almost successfully in betraying the Kingdom.

        In his new fief, Will quickly finds out that because the Skandians are not allowed to raid in Araluen anymore, the defenses of the fief have deteriorated over the years. Even though life in this fief is so relaxed it has become boring, Will knows it is no excuse to allow all of the defenses to fall out of shape completely. What would happen in the improbable event of being attacked, or raided? The job is left solely to Will when Skandians invade the fief, looking for a fight. Faced with a difficult test right away, Will utilizes his hard-earned skills by resolving the conflict and inviting Skandians to the castle for a feast to ensure peace. This proves to be useful in the future, as the barbaric mercenaries agree to defend the fief of Norgate against the Scotti.

          Soon after, an old friend soon visits Will at his small cabin at Seacliff. Will warmly welcomes Alyss into his home, eager to have a relaxing evening by the fire. But her arrival is not just for a friendly chat, she is a Courier now, and she is delivering the news of a special assignment for Will. In Norgate fief, near the border with the Scotti, the wild tribe of the North, the lord of the castle has suddenly become ill, with his illness blamed on a “Sorcerer” in the woods. To make it worse, the current Ranger is struggling with the task. No one has been able to help with Lord Syron’s illness, and word is spreading fast. Villagers tell tales about seeing lights constantly flashing in the woods where the “sorcerer” lives.  Also, there are stories of sounds and the dreaded “Night Warrior” as well. Will’s mission is to go incognito as a jongleur and investigate the situation. He does not know anything about the fief, who to trust, or what to expect. He is forced to rely only on his quick wits and Ranger skills to keep him alive.

          The Ranger’s Apprentice book five by Jon Flanagan is an amazing all around read, another thrilling sequel in the series. It is a great page turner, and it leaves readers with a huge cliffhanger at the end. This forces the reader to read the next book, as the book ends before the major climax occurs. Many unlikely events happen in this book, such as Will having to pose as a Jongleur, or entertainer, for the mission to successfully work. He is almost caught and thrown out of the castle. The excitement in this book never dies; Flanagan has something happening on every page, all adding to the clever plot. Also, Flanagan writes his action scenes with intricate details that really bring them to life, such as Will aiming and shooting his bow or scaling the castle wall for a rescue. The language and style of the writing is so creative, and the storyline is easy to picture. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 10 who loves a great story, with an exciting plot. All in all, this book by Jon Flanagan again complements the series with another thrilling page-turner.