Book Reviews

Book Reviews: The Tournament at Gorlan

Rating: 9/10
Recommended for: Ages 12 and up for a more mature storyline and minor drinking reference

“The Tournament at Gorlan” is the first book in a new series by John Flanagan called “Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years.” This book is the prequel to the Ranger’s Apprentice 12-book epic. Flanagan lives in Australia and has been writing about the world of Rangers ever since 2004. He has published the Ranger’s Apprentice series along with the Brotherband Chronicles.

Renegades, usurping nobles, jousting, knights, everything that medieval fantasy literature could want is present in Flanagan’s newest book “The Tournament at Gorlan.” The title suggests that most of the conflict in the book takes place on tournament grounds, but instead the plot is moved forward in the shadows.

In the fiction land of Araluen, trouble is brewing. The king’s son, Duncan, has recently been accused of trying to poison his father, and one of the most powerful barons in the kingdom took the king under his wing of protection. However, Baron Morgarath has other plans in mind besides saving the king. King Oswald is actually a prisoner in Morgarath’s castle, and reports start circulating that Crown Prince Duncan is raiding villages in the North and stirring up the wild northmen called the Scotti. With the nobles out of the way, Morgarath starts to undermine the most potent attack force Araluen possesses — the king’s Rangers. The Ranger Corps is made up of 50 men all trained in archery, knife fighting, tracking, stealth, and horsemanship. Each skill is refined until it reaches a level of extreme accuracy; this makes the Rangers a force to be reckoned with. Morgarath started replacing the real Rangers with fake cronies of his own. One Ranger and a stranger from the land of Hiberia take it upon themselves to help King Oswald and form a small band of 12 renegade Rangers.

This book is recommended for ages 12 and up. The characters are beautifully written, they are very believable. Humor is found throughout the book, yet the storyline still retains it’s seriousness. The topic of rebellion is very prevalent on both sides of the battle. Drinking is also briefly touched on. Otherwise, The Tournament at Gorlan is a great, fun read for everyone!

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