The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice Series #12)

The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice Series #12)

4.5 192
by John A. Flanagan

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The story that brings the Ranger's Apprentice arc full-circle!

Will Treaty has come a long way from the small boy with dreams of knighthood. Life had other plans for him, and as an apprentice Ranger under Halt, he grew into a legend—the finest Ranger the kingdom has ever known. Yet Will is facing a tragic battle that has left him grim and alone. To…  See more details below


The story that brings the Ranger's Apprentice arc full-circle!

Will Treaty has come a long way from the small boy with dreams of knighthood. Life had other plans for him, and as an apprentice Ranger under Halt, he grew into a legend—the finest Ranger the kingdom has ever known. Yet Will is facing a tragic battle that has left him grim and alone. To add to his problems, the time has come to take on an apprentice of his own, and it’s the last person he ever would have expected. Fighting his personal demons, Will has to win the trust and respect of his difficult new companion—a task that at times seems almost impossible.

John Flanagan returns for one final bow to the series that has conquered millions of readers worldwide with this pulse-pounding adventure that brings one era to a close, and ushers in the next . . .

For fans of Tolkien, Redwall, Game of Thrones, and T.H. White, RANGER'S APPRENTICE delivers fantasy-adventure thrills with real-world historical details.

“The last few years have seen the publication of many fantasies, but few have the appeal of this original story.” —Booklist, starred review, on The Ruins of Gorlan

“Fans of the series will eagerly devour this one and wait impatiently for the next . . . A sure bet for fantasy fans.” —School Library Journal

“Flanagan's deft character portrayals and well-paced story will engage readers, and the ending will leave them clamoring for the next volume.” —Booklist, on The Icebound Land

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Editorial Reviews

This Ranger's Apprentice novel marks an end and beginning. For a full cycle of the series, Will Treaty has grown from a fledgling 15-year-old orphan into a heroic adult warrior; now this former apprentice must take and train another. Full circle and a new takeoff; now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Ranger's Apprentice Series , #12
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
780L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

It had been a poor harvest in Scanlon Estate. The wheat crop had been meagre at best, and the apple orchards had been savaged by a blight that left three-quarters of the fruit blemished and rotting on the trees.

As a result, the share farmers, farm labourers, orchardists and fruit pickers were facing hard times, with three months before the next harvest, during which time they would have nowhere near enough to eat.

Squire Dennis of Scanlon Manor was a kind-hearted man. He was also a practical one and, while his kind-hearted nature urged him to help his needy tenants, his practical side recognised such an action as good business. If his farmers and labourers went hungry, chances were they would move away, in search of work in a less stricken region. Then, when good times returned to Scanlon Estate, there would be insufficient workers available to reap the harvest.

Dennis had acquired considerable wealth over the years and could ride out the hard times ahead. But he knew that such an option wasn’t available to his workers. Accordingly, he decided to invest some of his accumulated wealth in them. He set up a workers’ kitchen, which he paid for himself, and opened it to the needy who lived on his estate. In that way, he ensured that his people received at least one good meal a day. It was nothing fancy – usually a soup, or a porridge made from oats. But it was hot and nourishing and filling and he was confident that the cost would be more than repaid by the continuing loyalty of his tenants and labourers.
The kitchen was in the parkland in front of the manor house. It consisted of rows of trestle tables and benches, and a large serving table. These were sheltered from the worst of the weather by canvas awnings stretched over poles above them, creating a large marquee. The sides were left open. In bad weather, this often meant that the wind and rain blew around the tables. But farm folk are of hardy stock and the arrangement was far better than eating in the open.
In point of fact, kitchen was a misnomer. All the cooking was done in the vast kitchen inside the manor house, and the food was carried out to be served to the hungry tenants and their families. The estate workers understood that the food was provided free of charge. But it was a matter of principle that any who could afford a small payment would do so. Most often, this was in the form of a few copper coins, or of produce – a brace of rabbits or a wild duck taken at the pond.
The kitchen operated for the two hours leading up to dusk, ensuring that the workers could enjoy a night’s sleep without the gnawing pains of hunger in their bellies.
It was almost dusk when the stranger pushed his way through to the serving table.

He was a big man with shoulder-length dirty blond hair. He was wearing a wagoner’s leather vest, and a pair of thick gauntlets were tucked into his belt, alongside the scabbard that held a heavy-bladed dagger. His eyes darted continually from side to side, never remaining long in one spot, giving him a hunted look.
Squire Dennis’s chief steward, who was in charge of the serving table, looked at him suspiciously. The workers’ kitchen was intended for locals, not for travellers, and he’d never seen this man before.

‘What do you want?’ he asked, his tone less than friendly.

The wagoner stopped his darting side-to-side looks for a few seconds and focused on the man facing him. He was about to bluster and threaten but the steward was a heavily built man, and there were two powerful-looking servants behind him, obviously tasked with keeping order. He nodded at the cauldron of thick soup hanging over the fire behind the serving table.

‘I want food,’ he said roughly. ‘Haven’t eaten all day.’

The steward frowned. ‘You’re welcome to soup, but you’ll have to pay,’ he said. ‘Free food is for estate tenants and workers only.’

The wagoner scowled at him, but he reached into a grubby purse hanging from his belt and rummaged around. The steward heard the jingle of coins as he sorted through the contents, letting some drop back into the purse. He deposited three pennigs on the table.

‘That do?’ he challenged. ‘That’s all I’ve got.’

The steward raised a disbelieving eyebrow. He’d heard the jingle of coins dropping back into the purse. But it had been a long day and he couldn’t be bothered with a confrontation. Best to give the man some food and get rid of him as soon as possible. He gestured to the serving girl by the soup vat.

‘Give him a bowl,’ he said.

She dumped a healthy portion into a wooden bowl and set it before him, adding a hunk of crusty bread.

The wagoner looked at the tables around him. Many of those seated were drinking noggins of ale as well. There was nothing unusual in that. Ale was relatively cheap and the squire had decided that his people shouldn’t have a dry meal. There was a cask behind the serving table, with ale dripping slowly from its spigot. The wagoner nodded towards it.

‘What about ale?’ he demanded.

The steward drew himself up a little straighter. He didn’t like the man’s manner. He might be paying for his meal, but it was a paltry amount and he was getting good value for his money.

‘That’ll cost extra,’ he said. ‘Two pennigs more.’

Grumbling, the wagoner rummaged in his purse again. He showed no sign of embarrassment at producing more coins after claiming that he had none. He tossed them on the table and the steward nodded to one of his men.

‘Give him a noggin,’ he said.

The wagoner took his soup, bread and ale and turned away without another word.

‘And thank you,’ the steward said sarcastically, but the blond man ignored him. He threaded his way through the tables, studying the faces of those sitting there. The steward watched him go. The wagoner was obviously looking for someone and, equally obviously, hoping not to see him.

The servant who had drawn the ale stepped close to him and said in a lowered voice, ‘He looks like trouble waiting to happen.’

The steward nodded. ‘Best let him eat and be on his way. Don’t give him any extra, even if he offers to pay.’

The serving man grunted assent, then turned as a farmer and his family approached the table, hopefully looking at the soup cauldron.

‘Step up, Jem. Let’s give you and your family something to stick your ribs together, eh?’

Holding his soup bowl and ale high to avoid bumping them against the people seated at the tables, the wagoner made his way to the very rear of the marquee, close by the sandstone walls of the great manor house. He sat at the last table, on his own, facing the front, where he could see each new arrival as they entered the big open tent. He began to eat, but with his eyes constantly flicking up to watch the front of the tent, he managed to spill and dribble a good amount of the soup down his beard and the front of his clothes.

He took a deep draught of his ale, still with his eyes searching above the rim of the wooden noggin. There was only a centimetre left when he set it down again. A serving girl, moving through the tables and collecting empty plates, paused to look into the noggin. Seeing it virtually empty, she reached for it. But the wagoner stopped her, grasping her wrist with unnecessary force so that she gasped.

‘Leave it,’ he ordered. ‘Haven’t finished.’

She snatched her wrist away from his grip and curled her lip at him.

‘Big man,’ she sneered. ‘Finish off your last few drops of ale then.’

She stalked away angrily, turning once to glare back at him. As she did, a frown came over her face. There was a cloaked and cowled figure standing directly behind the wagoner’s chair. She hadn’t seen him arrive. She had no idea how he had appeared where he did. One moment, there was nobody near the wagoner. Then the cloaked man appeared, seemingly having risen out of the earth. She shook her head. That was fanciful, she thought. Then she reconsidered, noting the mottled green and grey cloak the man wore. It was a Ranger’s cloak, and folk said that Rangers could do all manner of unnatural things – such as rising out of the earth.
 The Ranger stood directly behind the wagoner’s chair. So far, the ill-tempered wagoner had no idea that he was there.

The shadow of the cowl hid the newcomer’s features. All that was visible was a steel-grey beard. Then he slipped back the cowl to reveal a grim face, with dark eyes and grey, roughly trimmed hair to match the beard.

At the same time, he drew a heavy saxe knife from beneath the cloak and tapped its flat side gently on the wagoner’s shoulder, leaving it resting there so the wagoner could see it with his peripheral vision.

‘Don’t turn around.’

The wagoner stiffened, sitting bolt upright on his bench. Instinctively, he began to turn to view the man behind him. The saxe rapped on his shoulder, harder this time.
‘I said don’t.’

The command was uttered in a more peremptory tone, and some of those nearby became aware of the scene playing out at the table. The low murmur of voices died away to silence as more people noticed. All eyes turned towards the rear table, where the wagoner sat, seemingly transfixed.
Somewhere, someone recognised the significance of the grey mottled cloak and the heavy saxe knife.

‘It’s a Ranger.’

The wagoner slumped as he heard the words, and a haunted look came over his face.

‘You’re Henry Wheeler,’ the Ranger said.

Now the haunted look changed to one of abject fear. The big man shook his head rapidly, spittle flying from his lips as he denied the name.

‘No! I’m Henry Carrier! You’ve got the wrong man! I swear.’

The Ranger’s lips twisted in what might have been a smile. ‘Wheeler … Carrier. Not a very imaginative stretch if you’re planning to change your name. And you should have got rid of the Henry.’

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ the wagoner babbled. He began to turn to face his accuser. Again, the saxe rapped him sharply on the shoulder.

‘I told you. Don’t turn around.’

‘What do you want from me?’ The wagoner’s voice was rising in pitch. Those watching were convinced that he knew why the grim-faced Ranger had singled him out.

‘Perhaps you could tell me.’

‘I haven’t done anything! Whoever this Carrier person is, it’s not me! I tell you, you’ve got the wrong man! Leave me be, I say.’

He tried to put a sense of command into the last few words and failed miserably. They came out more as a guilt-laden plea for mercy than the indignation of an innocent man. The Ranger said nothing for a few seconds. Then he said three words.

‘The Wyvern Inn.’

Now the guilt and fear were all too evident on the wagoner’s face.

‘Remember it, Henry? The Wyvern Inn in Anselm Fief. Eighteen months ago. You were there.’


‘What about the name Jory Ruhl, Henry? Remember him? He was the leader of your gang, wasn’t he?’

‘I never heard of no Jory Ruhl!’

‘Oh, I think you have.’

‘I never have! I was never at any Wyvern Inn and I had nothing to do with the …’

The big man stopped, realising he was convicting himself with his words.

‘So you weren’t there, and you had nothing to do with … what exactly, Henry?’

‘Nothing! I never did nothing. You’re twisting my words! I wasn’t there! I don’t know anything about what happened!’

‘Are you referring to the blaze that you and Ruhl set in that inn, by any chance? There was a woman killed in that fire, remember? A Courier. She got out of the building. But there was a child trapped inside. Nobody important, just a peasant girl – the sort of person you would consider beneath your notice.’

‘No! You’re making this up!’ Carrier cried.

But the Ranger was unrelenting. ‘But the Courier didn’t think she was unimportant, did she? She went back into the burning building to save her. She shoved the girl out through an upper floor window, then the roof collapsed and she was killed. Surely you remember now?’

 ‘I don’t know any Wyvern Inn! I’ve never been in Anselm Fief. You’ve got the wrong –’

Suddenly, with a speed that belied his bulk, the wagoner was on his feet and whirling to his right to face the Ranger. As he began the movement, his right hand snatched the dagger from his belt and he swung it in a backhanded strike.

But, fast as he was, the Ranger was even faster. As the desperation had been mounting in Carrier’s voice, he had been expecting some sudden, defiant movement like this. He took a swift half step backwards and the saxe came up to block the wagoner’s dagger. The blades rang together with a rasping clang, then the Ranger countered the wagoner’s move with his own. Pivoting on his right heel, he deflected the dagger even further with his saxe and followed the movement with an open-palmed strike with his left hand, hitting Carrier on the ridge of his jawline.

The wagoner grunted in shock and staggered back. Then his feet tangled in the bench he’d been sitting on and he stumbled. He tried to catch his balance but instead crashed against the edge of the table, which caused him to overbalance and fall with a thud to the ground.

Those watching the struggle unfold looked puzzled as the wagoner lay there, unmoving. An ominous dark stain began to spread across the turf.

‘What’s going on here?’ The steward moved from behind the serving table, with his two assistants in tow. He looked at the Ranger, who met his gaze steadily. Then the Ranger shrugged, gesturing towards the still figure on the ground. The steward tore his gaze away, knelt and reached to turn the heavy figure over.

The wagoner’s eyes were wide open. The shock of what had happened was frozen on his face. His own dagger was buried deep in his chest.

‘He fell on his own knife. He’s dead,’ the steward said. He looked up at the Ranger, but saw neither guilt nor regret in the dark eyes.

‘What a shame,’ said Will Treaty. Then, gathering his cloak around him, he turned and strode from the tent.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for the Ranger's Apprentice series:

“The last few years have seen the publication of many fantasies, but few have the appeal of this original story.” —Booklist, starred review, on The Ruins of Gorlan
“Fans of the series will eagerly devour this one and wait impatiently for the next . . . A sure bet for fantasy fans.” —School Library Journal
“Flanagan's deft character portrayals and well-paced story will engage readers, and the ending will leave them clamoring for the next volume.” —Booklist, on The Icebound Land

Customer Reviews

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The Royal Ranger 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 192 reviews.
baltoreader More than 1 year ago
Great, as are the rest of the books in the series (I have them all). But I guess we'll never find out what happens to Maddie...  I understand that Mr Flanagan is tired of the series, but it could go in other directions now..Please keep writing???
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
5 STARS I love this series. They say this is the last book, but I won't mind if more come out at all. I would read them. The plot is years after the last book and things have changed a lot. Will is in a depression state. He has refused Ranger assignments. Horace and Cassandra are frustrated parents at wits end. plus Cassandra is running the country. Halt has a plan. The main characters are back but most of them have a small part except Will and his new apprentice. I love these characters. They are so likable so real to me. Even Tugs are back. The setting is at least 16 years since we have seen them. Araluen is still ruled by King Duncan but he is ill so Princess Cassandra is running the country. Once I started the book I did not want to put it down till I had finished reading it. I hope this book will bridge a new series starting from the old one. Fans of the series will love it. It is aimed at boys but all ages can enjoy. My daughter was in High school when she started reading the series. So I love it. My friend and her family a mix of ages girls and boys have all read the series too. November 5th 2013 by Philomel 464 pages ISBN: 0399163603
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plz tell me this is not the last book plz! I hate it when good series end. If u have to end it, plz put an attaching series like how rick riordian did with percy jackson series and the heroes of olympius series. I am a fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was such a great just so sade that more arnt on the way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe anyone would rate this negatively. This book was the beautiful end to a magnificent series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down I was completely mesmerized into the book I could hardy walk without reading it! John Flanagan I know that this the last book but if you would please just make another book I am completely mesmerized by your work and respect it with great quality but can you at least consider it I hate it when a wonderful series end, everybody does I bet you right now millions of your wonderful fans are asking the same trust me you could bring joy to the lives of the people who have asbergers desiese and altimers desiese just think about. P.s I have, a sister who wants to read them and I will once she turns 7 or 9 and I would like to provide her a nice complete series she is really interested in these book I read her a page or two and she loved it! Can you please consider it for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot remember how long ago I started on the journey with Will Treaty, but have eagerly waited for more! Have shared the books with siblings, grandkids and anyone else who was interested. Was excited when I read "Royal Ranger" was coming out. Started reading it as soon as it arrived in at my door. Partly to return to Will's world and partly because my sister was eagerly waiting for me to send it to her. It was a great read! I wish there were more to look forward to. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a well written, exciting story. And am glad the Mr. Flanagan has continued to story with the "Brotherband" series. Am eagerly waiting for the next adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like always Flanagan writes a masterpiece. Wish this wasn't the end of the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, It really portrays how hash and miserable life can actually be, Alyss dying was a nice touch to the book, it was meant to cause saddness, and it suceeded
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book. A good ending to the series, but Flanagan can always return later and extend with another book if he wants to. My 10 year old son has read all the series, and it is exciting to hear him talk about this book. He just started it, but I finished it within days of it coming out. There are sad parts, but that makes the story seem real to the reader, because life isn't always fair.
Tricia_FtWorth More than 1 year ago
Book is a wonderful read and it makes me sad that this will be the last one. I would love to see Will mentor more lost kids that need a chance to shine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. I loved it that much. By far the best book, but there are still things that need to be answered, but I'm content for now. Maddie is a excellent addition to this series and it pains me dearly that it will no longer continue. Thank you for all the amazing books about Wills Adventure, and I'll pray for more in the future.
Croter More than 1 year ago
I hate to see the story end. The characters were so interesting and believable that you feel like you really know them. I can't recommend this series enough, it was just a wonderful story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read the whole series and then i figured out about this one and i freaked out its so good and i hope you enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! I highly recomend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great end to an even greater series. Every aspect of it was amazing. John once again wove an enthralling tale that captures the readers attention. Great book, well worth picking it up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like all the ranger books and can not decide which one i like best. If i had to pock i could not but this book is in the top 5 of all his books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very sad ending, wish Alyss didn't die.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't want to make people mad but Will is way better than Horace. Reply if possible
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For someone who believed that the Lost Stories would be the final book, this was a pleasant surprise. It would be amazing if Flanigan made a spin-off of this, even if he doesn't, it would still be a more than worthy finale to the series. I reccommend it to even those who havent read the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this story was touching even though it had its sad parts because I think it adds a much needed plot twist. I love this seiries and would buy all of the books if there weren't so many:)
AliceGrace More than 1 year ago
I had great expectations for The Royal Ranger and I can't say I was disappointed. When the story begins, we find Princess Cassandra and her husband, Sir Horace, at wits ends with their fifteen-year-old daughter and Will Treaty in a well of despair, intent on revenge. All righty, this wasn't entirely unexpected, but it was a bit unexpected too. For one, Gilan and Jenny aren't married yet? Not okay. I mean, last we knew, Jenny was infatuated with Gilan. How could she be so stupid! Why? Just why? The rest of it all made sense though. Poor Crowley's left the world. King Duncan is dying. Halt's retired but is still his awesome self. Pauline hasn't changed. Cassandra and Horace are different but age does that. Will remains both the same and the most different all at the same time. He's so sad and much grimmer than Halt ever was, but we get to see pieces of him between it all. His apprentice, Maddie, was a wonderful addition to the story. Mr. Flanagan had her develop as a character at just the right pace, keeping her fundamental attributes together while having her grow everywhere else. While I can't say I'm disappointed, there were a few things I missed that just weren't part of this story. I missed young Will and Horace. I missed Halt being the mentor. And I wished Gilan and Jenny had a different ending, but I can't say it was unrealistic either, just not the one I wanted. I truly missed the byplay between Will and everyone else. But I will say that Will fulfilled every expectation I had for him as a mentor. He was everything I always knew he'd be. And The Royal Ranger had just the right amount of echoes from The Ruins of Gorlan at the moments they counted the most. The plot and events were reminiscent of The Ruins of Gorlan, but not exhaustively so. The Royal Ranger was a wonderful ending to a beloved series. It brought all of our characters full circle and it was nice to it all done so masterfully. I will truly miss this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could you make rangers books were Halt is just starting being an apprentice ranger?????????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is yet another fantastic book by Flanagan.  The book takes a few twists that made me a bit unhappy initially but they help set the mood and feeling for the rest of the book.  As long as the series continues I will continue avidly read of the adventures of Will Treaty, Maddie, and the rest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i read this book i thought of how Will use to be an apprentice to being a ranger with an apprentice. This is an awesome story of Maddie and Will. So sad that this is the last book.