Title: The Kings of Clonmel
Author: John Flanagan
Series: The Ranger’s Apprentice #8
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Publisher: Random House Australia
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Then, on the far bank, the ground rose again to create the natural defensive position where Redmont stood – massive, solid and beginning to glow red in the late afternoon sun.
Will is at the annual Ranger Gathering but Halt is investigating mysterious happenings in the west. When he does finally return, it’s with bad news. Hibernia is in turmoil. A false religious cult calling themselves the Outsiders are sowing confusion and sedition, and five of the six Hibernian kingdoms have been undermined. Now the sixth, Clonmel, is in danger. Halt, Will and Horace set out to restore order. Can the secrets of Halt’s past help them in their mission?
One Ranger can stop a riot, but this time two Rangers may not be enough…
It was really enjoyable to delve into Halt’s history and his past. He is the perfect enigmatic mentor for Will (and even Horace), so his history and what led him to become the mysterious hero that we love and know has fascinated me since the inklings of it in Oakleaf Bearers. The presence of his twin brother, and the reminder that no matter how many genes two people have in common, they can still become completely different characters. Halt’s steadfastness and admirable sense of self are severely juxtaposed by his brother’s entire persona – a great reminder that it is our choices that create us, not our parentage.
The Kings of Clonmel is the beginning of another great story arc in The Ranger’s Apprentice series. The presence of the Outsiders, and more specifically, Tennyson lead to an even more sinister storyline for Halt throughout Halt’s Peril. However, it is the idea of cults, mass hysteria and the ease with which people can believe a lie that really pulls you in. Although we all like to believe that there is absolutely no way in which we could be taken in by such baloney, even Will and Horace admit to how alluring such a group is. It is a great reminder that we are all susceptible to mass opinion and can be fooled when the circumstances are right.
I loved Will’s new assignment in this story – his removal from Redmont in The Sorcerer in the North and The Siege of Macindaw just didn’t seem quite right to me. Especially after he falls for Alyss, so his return to his home and the masterful juggling of the Ranger Corps to allow for this left me feeling incredibly happy and grateful for Flanagan’s ability to manipulate his characters. Aside from the pursuit of The Outsiders in Halt’s Peril, it is Will’s new role based at Redmont that makes me keen to open the pages of the next Ranger’s Apprentice book.
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