Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ranger’s Apprentice: Book Ten – The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

Ranger’s Apprentice: Book Ten – The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

John Flanagan
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2011   ISBN: 978-0399255007

Over the years, Horace has shown on numerous occasions that he is not only a brave and skilled warrior, but that he is also a good candidate to take on the job of Battlemaster of Araluen some time in the not too distant future.

Eager to expose Horace to as many fighting techniques as possible, King Duncan has sent Horace to the land of Nihon-Ja so that he can observe and learn from the Senshi warriors. Horace is soon good friends with Emperor Shigeru, who is a wise and compassionate man. Though he is from the elite Senshi warrior class, the emperor understands that the divisions between the classes in his country cannot be allowed to continue. He is sensitive enough to appreciate that there needs to be greater equality for all his people. This enlightened attitude is not embraced by other members of his class however, and while Horace is still in Nihon-Ja, the emperor’s enemies seize power.

Determined not to give up his throne and abandon his people, the emperor flees to the mountains with his closest supporters, including Horace. The hope is that the members of the Kikori clans will come to his aid. When they realize that their emperor is determined to create a more equitable society in Nihon-Ja, the hill people are eager to join his cause, but Horace is still worried. Though the Kikori are strong and willing to fight, there are not many of them, and they are not trained warriors. How will they manage with they are faced with thousands of battle-ready and skilled Senshi fighters?

As soon as they hear that Horace is in trouble, Will, Halt, Evanlyn, Alyss and their friends set sail for Nihon-Ja. Though they are few in number, they each have skills that they can use to help the emperor defeat his enemies. If they can get there in time. Traveling such a long way across pirate-infested seas is not going to be easy, and then there will be the problem of finding out where the emperor and Horace are.

For many years now, John Flanagan has delighted readers with his Ranger’s Apprentice books. Readers have watched Will grow into a wise and confident Ranger, and they have joined the young man and his friends on their many adventures. In this final Ranger’s Apprentice title, we get to enjoy one last quest with Horace, Will, Halt, and their friends. It is an extremely satisfying story, one that fans of the series will surely enjoy.