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The Tournament at Gorlan
Cover of The Tournament at Gorlan
The Tournament at Gorlan
Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years Series, Book 1
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From John Flanagan, author of the worldwide bestselling Ranger's Apprentice—the first in a new prequel series featuring one of our favorite Rangers, Halt! When Halt and Crowley discover that the...
From John Flanagan, author of the worldwide bestselling Ranger's Apprentice—the first in a new prequel series featuring one of our favorite Rangers, Halt! When Halt and Crowley discover that the...
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  • From John Flanagan, author of the worldwide bestselling Ranger's Apprentice—the first in a new prequel series featuring one of our favorite Rangers, Halt!

    When Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late. By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne.
    Yet when Halt and Crowley arrive in Gorlan, they discover just how close Morgarath's scheme is to success. Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won.
    This origin story brings readers to a time before Will was an apprentice, and lays the groundwork for the epic battles that will culminate with The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge—Books 1 and 2 of the Ranger's Apprentice series.
    Praise for the New York Times bestselling Tournament at Gorlan
    * "Action and intrigue, great characters, and a properly scary villain make this book an absolute necessity for any library. With appeal for both boys and girls, libraries can anticipate a waiting list for this title and great anticipation for the sequel."–School Library Connection, starred review
    "Flanagan's familiar mix of action, humor, and cliff-hanger endings will have fans and newbies hooked."–School Library Journal
    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter 1

    It had been raining for a week.

    Not heavy rain, but a steady, persistent, soaking rain that finally overcame the protective oil in their woolen cloaks and worked its way into the fabric itself, making it heavy and sodden.

    And cold.

    As they had done for the previous few nights, Halt and Crowley were camping out in the woods. Halt suggested that they should avoid towns and villages until they were sure they were clear of Morgarath's sphere of influence, and Crowley initially agreed. Halt, after all, had more experience of traveling as a fugitive than he did. Now, however, he wasn't quite so sure about the decision.

    They were sitting under a rectangular oilskin sheet that they had spread between four trees, with the lower side angled so that the rain would run off it. The ground beneath them was saturated and they had constructed low cots from tree branches to keep them off the wet earth. Each cot consisted of a rectangular frame, with a series of short crosspieces, and leafy boughs laid across it to form a rough mattress. Each day, they would disassemble the frames and carry the longer timber pieces with them, lashed in a bundle.

    A few meters away, their horses were tethered. The animals huddled together, sharing their body warmth and keeping their hindquarters turned to the wind and rain.

    Halt shivered and pulled his cloak more tightly around him. As he moved, a runnel of water ran off the cowl and landed on his nose, continuing its downward passage to drip off the end. Seeing it, Crowley laughed.

    Halt turned an accusing eye on him. "What do you find so amusing?" he asked coldly.

    Crowley, also huddled inside his cloak, nodded his head toward his friend. "You sitting there, hunched over and dripping, like an old man with a runny nose," he said. Unfortunately, the shrugging movement dislodged a stream of water from his own cowl and the drops ran down his nose. He sniffed, the smile dying on his face.

    "You find it amusing that I'm soaked to the skin and dying of cold?" Halt asked.

    Crowley made as if to shrug, then realized that such a movement would send more water running, and restrained himself. "Not amusing, perhaps. But certainly diverting."

    Halt turned, very carefully, to face him. "And from what does this sight divert you?" he asked, with careful attention to his grammar. When Halt was in a bad mood, he invariably paid careful attention to his grammar.

    "From the fact that I'm also sitting here with water running off my nose, cold, wet and miserable," Crowley said.

    Halt considered that. "You're uncomfortable?"

    Crowley nodded, sending more water cascading. "Totally," he said.

    "Some Ranger you turned out to be," Halt told him. "I thought Rangers could face the worst discomfort in the line of duty with a smile on their lips and a song in their heart. I didn't realize they would sit around whining and complaining."

    "Facing discomfort doesn't mean I'm not entitled to whine and complain about it. Besides, only a few minutes ago, I was laughing and cheerful." Crowley shivered, and pulled his cloak tighter. More water ran off it. "These cloaks are good up to a point. But once the water has soaked into them, they're worse than nothing."

    "If you were sitting here wrapped in nothing you'd soon see the difference," Halt replied. Crowley grunted, and a brief silence fell over the campsite, broken only by the persistent patter of rain on the leaves and the occasional stomp of one of the horses' hooves.

    They were faced with another cold supper. The air was so moisture laden that getting a spark to take from Halt's flint and steel to...

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books elliotl20 - I like this book, although I felt that it covered a lot of holes in the story before Morgrath's rebellion, I think that this book does well in establishing why Morgrath went to the Mountains of Moon and Night. My favorite part in the book is when Halt and Crowley go to break Duncan out of his prison, that was a really awesome adventure and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I can relate to the part when Crowley felt frustrated and powerless to do anything, when Morgrath and firing all the good rangers and Crowley couldn't do anything.
  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2015
    Lord Morgarath, the baron of Gorlan Fief, has been systematically dismantling the Ranger Corps, a band of soldiers appointed to protect the kingdom of Araluen. Crowley, a young Ranger, and Halt, a wicked bowman with a mysterious history, decide to re-establish the corps. However, with the king hiding in Castle Gorlan under the dubious protection of Morgarath, their only hope is Prince Duncan. Unfortunately, if the rumors are to be believed, the prince is too busy leading parties of drunken soldiers on illegal raids to be bothered with the business of ruling. However, Halt and Crowley soon learn that Morgarath's plan is far more complicated than they first surmised. Soon their goal is to save not only the corps, but the entire kingdom of Araluen. Flanagan revisits his epic series by exploring its early days. Halt is not yet a Ranger, Will is still just an orphan, and any romance between Halt and Pauline is only just beginning. Jousting, sword fighting, and subterfuge are all business as usual for Rangers, but Crowley and Halt manage it with a hearty helping of sarcasm and humor. This origin story is richly detailed and carefully planned but slow-moving. Light on action, and heavy on witty banter, this prequel series kickoff is more for confirmed fans than those just coming to know the Rangers. (Adventure. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2015

    Gr 5 Up-Before becoming a full-fledged Ranger, Halt O'Carrick teams up with Crowley, a fellow protege of master teacher, Pritchard. They hear that a dozen Rangers across Gorlan have been dismissed from their posts on trumped-up charges of disloyalty to King Oswald. It is a ruse by the evil Baron Morgarath to weaken the Rangers' stronghold in the land and overtake the throne. He has locked up the King and his successor Duncan and sent out an obnoxious imposter to raise havoc among the people, in hopes they will beg the Baron to step in as their leader. Halt and Crowley know they must press the 12 former Rangers back into service and free King Oswald and Duncan from their respective prisons before Morgarath declares himself king at the tournament of Gorlan. The mission drives the story, as the team rides covertly from village to village collecting their enlistees and having close calls with Morgarath's henchmen. As each Ranger is added to the mix, they display unique skills and character quirks that help bring energy to the narrative, allowing readers to relish the campfire antics as much as the final action-driven jousting scenes. Challenging vocabulary with context clues broadens the reading interest range. Those who can't get enough of the "Ranger's Apprentice" series (Philomel) will discover more layers to Halt, the steadfast and humble hero, especially the day he meets Pauline for the first time in this prequel. VERDICT Flanagan's familiar mix of action, humor, and cliff-hanger endings will have fans and newbies hooked.-Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years Series, Book 1
John Flanagan
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