The Ruins of Gorlan (Book 1 of the Ranger's Apprentice)
by John Flanagan
His friends support him—his rivals mock him—but teenage Will is determined to win the glory and adventure of being a knight, just like his dead father did. Of course, being an orphan, living on the Baron's charity, Will doesn't really get a choice about what he's going to do, and he is kind of small and skinny...
So when the final selection is made, Will breaks all the rules. Alone, at midnight, he scales the castle walls and breaks into the Baron's private chambers; he sneaks up to where the list of candidates is written down-and is caught!
Will isn't thrown in prison—but he sometimes thinks that might have been easier. Instead Will is given to "Halt," one of the fearful "Rangers," to be his apprentice. Will has to do everything Halt tells him to do—chop wood, fetch water, clean pots, learn to cook, clean the tiny cottage they both must share--and Halt never has anything but harsh words and criticism for whatever Will does.
The glory and adventure of knighthood have never seemed further away.
But Halt also trains Will in some of his own mysterious skills: How to use the shadows to move undetected, sneak through the forest, shoot and throw knives with deadly accuracy and silence. The Rangers are the Kingdom's eyes and ears, moving secretly, telling no-one what they can do.
Now deadly Kalkara monsters have begun murdering the Kingdom's war-leaders, and Halt is sent to find out who—or what—sent them, and stop their next assassination.
From his castle home to the haunted ruins of Gorlan, one young apprentice will find that all his training will be tested in the defense of his kingdom.
Maybe knights do get all the glory, but nothing beats the wild adventures awaiting this future Ranger.
(Booktalk by Matt Laxton, Sno-Isle Regional Library System & Kirsten Edwards, King County Library System)
Last Updated: January 15, 2008