Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ranger’s Apprentice: Book Three – The Icebound Land

Ranger’s Apprentice: Book Three – The Icebound Land

John Flanagan
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2007   ISBN: 978-0399244568

Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia on a Skandian wolfship and their future prospects are very dim indeed. At first Evanlyn is convinced that she will be able to use her status as the daughter of the Araluen king to be ransomed back to her homeland, but then the two young people hear that the leader of the Skandians has sworn vengeance on King Duncan and everyone in his family. Clearly it would not be wise to mention who she is at this point. So instead they keep quiet hoping that when they get to Skandia and are sold into slavery that they will at least be kept together.

Meanwhile Halt the Ranger is fretting because he is not being given permission to leave Araluen to get Will back. In the end he behaves in such a way that guarantees that he will be banished from his homeland. It is a drastic move and being expelled from the Ranger Corps is a painful thing to have to take, but Halt is determined to go to Skandia to find Will. Given the sentence of one year?s banishment, Halt sets off on his journey. He is soon joined by Horace, Will's friend, and together they travel to Gallica.

In Gallica the Ranger and the young knight-to-be are constantly forced to battle with local knights who try to take advantage of travelers in the lawless land. Time and again Horace defeats the Gallican knights and his reputation begins to spread. Then the Araluens meet a war lord, a black knight, who takes them prisoner. Lord Deparnieux is a cruel and power-hungry man and he is determined to make use of Halt and Horace in any way he can.

In Skandia the situation for Will and Evanlyn is very dire indeed. They are working in the Great Hall and though they are in the same place they have different duties. Evanlyn is put to work indoors but Will is yard slave and the conditions for these poor souls are terrible. Yard slaves very rarely last long. If the two Araluens do not escape soon Will will probably die before spring arrives.

Taking up the story where book two in this series left off, this title takes readers on not one but two adventures. In alternate chapters we follow the successes and setbacks of Will and Evanlyn, and of Halt and Horace. Evanlyn discovers that she is lot more capable that she thought she was and despite her sheltered upbringing, she is able to not only survive her enslavement, but she is also able to help Will. In addition Halt learns that his young companion is a formidable fighter, but he is also modest, very genuine, and good hearted. He has just the qualities that one would hope to see in a young man who will one day be a knight.

Absorbing from start to finish, this title will gratify readers who have read the first two books in this series, and it will certainly have readers wondering what is going to happen next.