The time has come for this young hero to be tested
Bracing for a final clash with the evil warlord Morgarath, the Rangers rally the kingdom's allies, and Will is chosen, along with his friend Horace, as special envoys to nearby Celtica. But the simple mission soon takes an unsettling turn - the Celticans have disappeared, their town abandoned. The scheming hand of Morgarath, it seems, has been far from idle. He has found a way to bring his legions over the once impassible eastern mountains and is planning to ambush the king's army in a rout. Now with help many miles away, Will and Horace are the only ones standing in the way of the dark lord's plans.They have shown great skill and courage in their training, but how will they fare in the face of true evil?
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1 . Time well spent
Posted November 24, 2010 by Reader1 , SalemThis is the second book in a series of 9. They are written with young teen age boys in mind. I am no longer a teen age boy by quite a few years, but I am very much hooked on the story line. I grew up reading the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis and stories of that nature. This series is an easy read and a great story line. While a serious reader can probably put away a single book in this series in an evening, it will still be time well spent. For the younger crowd this story gives examples of honor, courage, compassion, dedication and the like. Things our society seems to be missing as of late. Read it, Have your kids read it, you will all enjoy it!
June 06, 2006
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Excerpt from Ranger's Apprentice Book 2: The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan
Halt and Will had been trailing the Wargals for three days. The four heavy-bodied, brutish creatures, foot soldiers of the rebel warlord Morgarath, had been sighted passing through Redmont Fief, heading north. Once word reached the Ranger, he had set out to intercept them, accompanied by his young apprentice.
"Where could they have come from, Halt?" Will asked during one of their short rest stops. "Surely we've got Three Step Pass well and truly bottled up by now."
Three Step Pass provided the only real access between the Kingdom of Araluen and the Mountains of Rain and Night, where Morgarath had his headquarters. Now that the kingdom was preparing for the coming war with Morgarath, a company of infantry and archers had been sent to reinforce the small permanent garrison at the narrow pass until the main army could assemble.
"That's the only place where they can come in sizable numbers," Halt agreed. "But a small party like this could slip into the kingdom by way of the barrier cliffs."
Morgarath's domain was an inhospitable mountain plateau that towered high above the southern reaches of the kingdom. From Three Step Pass in the east, a line of sheer, precipitous cliffs ran roughly due west, forming the border between the plateau and Araluen. As the cliffs swung southwest, they plunged into another obstacle called the Fissure--a huge split in the earth that ran out to the sea, and separated Morgarath's lands from the kingdom of the Celts.
It was these natural fortifications that had kept Araluen, and neighboring Celtica, safe from Morgarath's armies for the past sixteen years. Conversely, they also provided the rebel warlord with protection from Araluen's forces.
"I thought those cliffs were impassable," Will said. Halt allowed himself a grim smile. "Nowhere is ever really impassable. Particularly if you have no respect for how many lives you lose trying to prove the fact. My guess is that they used ropes and grapnels and waited for a moonless night and bad weather. That way, they could slip past the border patrols."
He stood, signifying that their rest stop was at an end. Will rose with him and they moved toward their horses. Halt gave a small grunt as he swung into the saddle. The wound he had suffered in the battle with the two Kalkara still troubled him a little.
"My main concern isn't where they came from," he continued. "It's where they're heading, and what they have in mind."
The words were barely spoken when they heard a shout from somewhere ahead of them, followed by a commotion of grunting and, finally, the clash of weapons.
"And we may be about to find out!" Halt finished.
He urged Abelard into a gallop, controlling the horse with his knees as his hands effortlessly selected an arrow and nocked it to the string of his massive longbow. Will scrambled into Tug's saddle and galloped after him. He couldn't match Halt's hands-free riding skill. He needed his right hand for the reins as he held his own bow ready in his left.
They were riding through sparse woodland, leaving it to the surefooted Ranger horses to pick the best route. Suddenly, they burst clear of the trees into a wide meadow. Abelard, under his rider's urging, slid to a stop, Tug following suit beside him. Dropping the reins to Tug's neck, Will instinctively reached for an arrow from his quiver and nocked it ready.
A large fig tree grew in the middle of the cleared ground. At the base of it there was a small camp. A wisp of smoke still curled from the fireplace and a pack and blanket roll lay beside it. The four Wargals they had been tracking surrounded a single man, who had his back to the tree. For the moment his long sword held them at bay, but the Wargals were making small feinting movements toward him, trying to find an advantage. They were armed with short swords and axes and one carried a heavy iron spear.