Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ranger's Apprentice: Book Two – The Burning Bridge

Ranger's Apprentice: Book Two – The Burning Bridge

John Flanagan
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2007   ISBN: 978-0142408421

Everyone knows that the war with Morgarath will soon begin. Indeed they do not have much time, for captured plans reveal what the traitorous man is hoping to do and King Duncan's forces must rally to face the enemy. While these preparations are put in place, it is decided that Will should go on an embassy to Celtica with Gilan the Ranger. For company they will take Horace from the Battleschool. He could be useful should they run into any Wargals and it will be good for Will to be around someone of his own age for a change.

When they get to Celtica the three travelers are astonished to find that the Celtic villages are empty. Where have all the people gone? It is only when they encounter a young girl who calls herself Evanlyn that they are able to begin the process of gathering information. Apparently the Wargals have been taking the Celtic people away for some reason. Could they be using them as slaves for mining? Gilan decides that he should return to Castle Redmont to tell King Duncan what they have learned, but Will, Horace and Evanlyn will remain in Celtica to try to gather more information.

It is only when the trio comes to the great Fissure that they realize what Morgarath is up to. He is using the Celts as slave labor to build a great bridge across the fissure. With such a bridge in place he will be able to bring thousands of soldiers across and they will pose a terrible threat to King Duncan's unknowing forces.

Together Will and his friends decide that they must destroy the bridge at all costs. They decide that their best option is to try to burn it. The question is, will they be able to do enough damage before they are seen by Morgarath's soldiers? Will they be able to do enough damage to seriously compromise Morgarath's plans?

In this second book in the very exciting and entertaining Ranger's Apprentice series, John Flanagan weaves together a story which will have readers sitting on the edge of their seats. Who is Evanlyn and why does her story have a false ring to it? How will Will and his friends get back to safety once they fire the bridge? They risk capture or even worse and yet this is something which they must do.

Readers who enjoyed the first book in this series will be delighted with this title, and they will be intrigued by the character development which takes place in this episode. Horace in particular learns a great deal about himself and about others as he faces the real world and real hardship for the first time.