By John Flanagan
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
This is the 4th book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. We pick up where we left off in the last volume, with Will finally beginning to recover from his drug addiction after Evalyn rescued him from slavery with the help of the Skandian, Erak. The two are still in their small cabin in the mountains when spring hits, but before they can worry about moving on, Evalyn is captured by a Temujai--a race of people from the steppes who are unbeatable warriors. Will is soon in pursuit to try and rescue Evalyn. Meanwhile, Will's mentor Halt and his young warrior friend Horace are finally entering Skandia looking to rescue Will, and find the handiwork of the Temujai, so they begin to track the group. Add in Erak also tracking the Temujai and it is inevitable the three groups meet up in time to rescue Evalyn and scatter the small Temujai party. But not before Halt gets a good glimpse of the thousands who have invaded and will be heading for the Skandian capital to conquer the country. And if the Temujai take over Skandia and its access to its ships and the sea, soon they will be coming to conquer Araluen next. So our small band head for the city with the hope that Halt and his friends can convince the Skandian leader to either evacuate or fight in a whole new tactical way to try and defeat the Temujai. This book is nonstop action from beginning to end, with some development in the relationships between our young heros. Fans of the series will not be disappointed, as this is one of the better installments so far, and it could well win new fans who will go back and read from the beginning. Unlike the last couple of books, this one does not end on a cliffhanger, so readers may be able to wait a little longer for the next volume.