THE RUINS OF GORLAN
New York : Philomel Books, 2005
IL 5-8, RL 5.8
Will is nervous about “choosing day”. Who will choose him as their apprentice? He would love to be a knight, but instead, he winds up as a ranger’s apprentice. The rangers are a secretive group that protects the kingdom from evil and crime. Will soon learns that becoming a ranger is much more difficult and dangerous than he ever imagined. The last apprentice was killed in training, now its Will’s turn to try. (New Hampshire Great Stone Face 2007)
His friends support him—his rivals mock him—but teenage Will is determined to win the glory and adventure of being a knight, just like his dead father did. Of course, being an orphan, living on the Baron's charity, Will doesn't really get a choice about what he's going to do, and he is kind of small and skinny.
So when the final selection is made, Will breaks all the rules. Alone, at midnight, he scales the castle walls and breaks into the Baron's private chambers; he sneaks up to where the list of candidates is written down—
And is caught!
Will isn't thrown in prison—but he sometimes thinks that might have been easier. Instead Will is given to "Halt," one of the fearful "Rangers," to be his apprentice. Will has to do everything Halt tells him to do—chop wood, fetch water, clean pots, learn to cook, clean the tiny cottage they both must share--and Halt never has anything but harsh words and criticism for whatever Will does.
The glory and adventure of knighthood never seemed further away.
But Halt also trains Will in some of his own mysterious skills: How to use the shadows to move undetected, sneak through the forest, shoot and throw knives with deadly accuracy and silence. The Rangers are the Kingdom's eyes and ears, moving secretly, telling no-one what they can do.
Now deadly Kalkara monsters
have begun murdering the Kingdom's war-leaders, and Halt is sent to find
out who—or what—sent them, and stop their next assassination.
Maybe knights do get all the
glory, but nothing beats the wild adventures awaiting this future Ranger.
(Booktalk by Matt Laxton, Sno-Isle Regional Library System & Kirsten Edwards, King County Library System for the Evergreen Young Adult Book award, 2007-2008)
He had always wanted to be a warrior. The Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways, made him nervous. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now fifteen year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t realize yet is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. (Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award 2008)
Will was a foundling. No one even knows his last name. He was raised at
the Castle Redmont with other orphans. When Will and his friends turned
15, they were given their apprentice assignments. Will was chosen to be
Heroes -- Fiction.