Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice Series #9)

Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice Series #9)

by John Flanagan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142418581
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/20/2012
Series: Ranger's Apprentice Series
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 20,104
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia, hoping to be a writer. John began writing Ranger’s Apprentice for his son, Michael, ten years ago, and is still hard at work on the series and its spinoff, Brotherband Chronicles. He currently lives in the suburb of Manly, Australia, with his wife. In addition to their son, they have two grown daughters and four grandsons.

Read an Excerpt

1. There was a raw wind blowing off the small harbor. It carried the salt of the sea with it, and the smell of imminent rain. The lone rider shrugged. Even though it was late summer, it seemed to have been raining constantly over the past week. Perhaps in this country it rained all the time, no matter what the season. “Summer and winter, nothing but rain,” he said quietly to his horse. Not surprisingly, the horse said nothing. “Except, of course, when it snows,” the rider continued. “Presumably, that’s so you can tell it’s winter.” This time, the horse shook its shaggy mane and vibrated its ears, the way horses do. The rider smiled at it. They were old friends.“You’re a horse of few words, Tug,” Will said. Then, on reflection, he decided that most horses probably were. There had been a time, quite recently, when he had wondered about this habit of his—talking to his horse. Then, mentioning it to Halt over the campfire one night, he’d discovered it was a common trait among Rangers. “Of course we talk to them,” the grizzled Ranger had told him. “Our horses show a lot more common sense than most people. And besides,” he’d added, a note of seriousness creeping into his voice, “we rely on our horses. We trust them and they trust us. Talking to them strengthens the special bond between us.” Will sniffed the air again. There were other smells apparent now, underlying the salt and the rain: Tar. New rope. Dried seaweed. But strangely, there was one scent missing—one he would have expected in any seaport along the eastern coast of Hibernia. There was no smell of fish. No smell of drying nets. “So what do they do here if they don’t fish?” he mused. Aside from the slow clop of his hooves on the uneven cobbles, echoing from the buildings that lined the narrow street, the horse made no answer. But Will thought he already knew. It was why he was here, after all. Port Cael was a smugglers’ town. The streets down by the docks were narrow and winding, in contrast to the wide, well-laid-out streets of the rest of the town. There was only an occasional lantern outside a building to light the way. The buildings themselves were mostly two-storied, with loading doors set on the second floors, and lifting gantries so that bales and barrels could be brought up from carts below. Warehouses, Will guessed, with storage room for the goods that shipowners smuggled in and out of the port. He was nearly down to the docks themselves now, and in the gap that marked the end of the street he could see the outlines of several small ships, moored to the dock and bobbing nervously on the dying efforts of the choppy waves that managed to force their way in through the harbor mouth. “Should be around here somewhere,” he said, and then he saw it: a single-story building at the end of the street, with a low-lying thatched roof sweeping down to just above head height. The walls may have been whitewashed at one time, but now they were a dirty, smudged gray. A fitful yellow light shone through the small windows along the street-side wall, and a sign creaked in the wind over the low doorway. A seabird of some kind, crudely rendered. “Could be a heron,” he said. He looked around curiously. The other buildings were all dark and anonymous. Their business was done for the day, whereas in a tavern like the Heron, it was just getting under way. He dismounted outside the building, absentmindedly patting Tug’s neck as he stood there. The little horse regarded the meanlooking tavern and then rolled an eye at his master. Are you sure you want to go in there? For a horse of few words, there were times when Tug could express himself with crystal clarity. Will smiled reassuringly at him. “I’ll be fine. I’m a big boy now, you know.” Tug snorted scornfully. He’d seen the small stable yard beside the inn and knew he’d be left there. He was always ill at ease when he wasn’t on hand to keep his master out of trouble. Will led him through the sagging gate into the stable yard. Another horse and a tired old mule were tethered there. Will didn’t bother to tether Tug. He knew his horse would stay there until he returned. “Wait over there. You’ll be out of the wind,” he said, gesturing toward the far wall. Tug looked at him again, shook his head and ambled to the spot Will had indicated. Just yell if you need me. I’ll come running. For a moment, Will wondered if he were being too fanciful in attributing that thought to his horse. Then he decided not. For a second or two, he entertained an image of Tug bursting through the narrow door into the tavern, shouldering drinkers aside to come to his master’s aid. He grinned at the thought and closed the stableyard gate, lifting it so that it didn’t drag on the rough cobblestones. Then he moved to the tavern entrance. Will was by no means a tall person, but even he felt it necessary to stoop a little under the low doorway. As he opened the door, he was hit by a wall of sensations. Heat. The smell of sweat. Smoke. Spilled, stale ale. As the wind rushed in through the open door, the lanterns flickered and the peat fire in the grate on the far wall suddenly flared with renewed life. He hesitated getting his bearings. The smoke and the flickering light from the fi re made it even harder to see inside than it had been outside on the dark street. “Close the door, fool!” a rough voice bellowed, and he stepped inside, allowing the door to shut behind him. Immediately, the fire and the lantern light steadied. There was a thick pall of smoke from the fire and dozens of pipes. It sat just above head height, trapped by the low thatched roof. Will wondered if it ever had a chance to disperse or whether it just hung there from one day to the next, growing in intensity with each passing evening. Most of the tavern’s patrons ignored him, but a few unfriendly faces turned toward him, assessing the newcomer. They saw a slim, slightly built figure, wrapped in a dull gray and green cloak, face concealed beneath a large hood. As they watched, he pushed the hood back and they saw that his face was surprisingly youthful. Little more than a boy. Then they took stock of the heavy saxe knife at his belt, with a smaller knife mounted above it, and the massive longbow in his left hand. Over his shoulder, they saw the feathered ends of more than a dozen arrows protruding from the quiver at his back. The stranger might look like a boy, but he carried a man’s weapons. And he did so without any self-consciousness or show, as if he was completely familiar with them. He looked around the room, nodding to those who had turned to study him. But his gaze passed over them quickly, and it was apparent that he posed no risk—and these were men who were well used to gauging potential threats from newcomers. The slight air of tension that had gripped the tavern eased and people went back to their drinking. Will, after a quick inspection of the room, saw no danger to himself and crossed to the rough bar—three heavy, roughsawn planks laid across two massive casks.The tavern keeper, a wiry man with a sharp-nosed face, round, prominent ears and a receding hairline that combined to give him a rodentlike look, glanced at him, absentmindedly wiping a tankard with a grubby cloth. Will raised an eyebrow as he looked at it. He’d be willing to bet the cloth was transferring more dirt to the tankard than it was removing. “Drink?” the tavern keeper asked. He set the tankard down on the bar, as if in preparation for fi lling it with whatever the stranger might order. “Not out of that,” Will said evenly, jerking a thumb at the tankard. Ratface shrugged, shoved it aside and produced another from a rack above the bar.“Suit yourself. Ale or ouisgeah?” Ouisgeah, Will knew, was the strong malt spirit they distilled and drank in Hibernia. In a tavern like this, it might be more suitable for stripping rust than drinking. “I’d like coffee,” he said, noticing the battered pot by the fire at one end of the bar. “I’ve got ale or ouisgeah. Take your pick.” Ratface was becoming more peremptory. Will gestured toward the coffeepot. The tavern keeper shook his head. “None made,” he said. “I’m not making a new pot just for you.” “But he’s drinking coffee,” Will said, nodding to one side. Inevitably the tavern keeper glanced that way, to see whom he was talking about. The moment his eyes left Will, an iron grip seized the front of his shirt collar, twisting it into a knot that choked him and at the same time dragged him forward, off balance, over the bar. The stranger’s eyes were suddenly very close. He no longer looked boyish. The eyes were dark brown, almost black in this dim light, and the tavern keeper read danger there. A lot of danger. He heard a soft whisper of steel, and glancing down past the fist that held him so tightly, he glimpsed the heavy, gleaming blade of the saxe knife as the stranger laid it on the bar between them. He looked around for possible help. But there was nobody else at the bar, and none of the customers at the tables had noticed what was going on. “Aach . . . mach co’hee,” he choked. The tension on his collar eased and the stranger said softly, “What was that?” “I’ll . . . make . . . coffee,” he repeated, gasping for breath. The stranger smiled. It was a pleasant smile, but the tavern keeper noticed that it never reached those dark eyes. “That’s wonderful. I’ll wait here.” Will released his grip on the tavern keeper’s shirtfront, allowing him to slide back over the bar and regain his balance. He tapped the hilt of the saxe knife. “Don’t change your mind, will you?” There was a large kettle by the fire grate, supported on a swiveling iron arm that moved it in and out of the flames. The tavern keeper busied himself with the coffeepot, measuring grounds into it then pouring the now boiling water over them. The rich smell of coffee filled the air, for a moment supplanting the less pleasant odors that Will had noticed when he entered. The tavern keeper placed the pot in front of Will, then produced a mug from behind the bar. He swiped at it with his ever-present cloth. Will frowned, wiped it carefully with a corner of his cloak and poured the coffee.  “I’ll have sugar if you’ve got it,” he said. “Honey if not.” “I’ve got sugar.” The tavern keeper turned away to get the bowl and a brass spoon. When he turned back to the stranger, he started. There was a heavy gold coin gleaming on the bar between them. It represented more than he would make in an evening’s trading, and he hesitated to reach for it. After all, that saxe knife was still on the bar close to the stranger’s hand. “Two penn’orth for the coffee is all,” he said carefully. Will nodded and reached into his purse, selecting two copper coins and dropping them onto the bar. “That’s more than fair. You make good coffee,” he added inconsequentially. The tavern keeper nodded and swallowed, still unsure. Cautiously, he swept the two copper coins off the bar, watching carefully for any sign of dissent from the enigmatic stranger. For a moment, he felt vaguely ashamed that he had been overborne by someone so young. But another look at those eyes and the youth’s weapons and he dismissed the thought. He was a tavern keeper. His notion of violence amounted to no more than using a cudgel on the heads of customers so affected by alcohol they could barely stand—and that was usually from behind. He pocketed the coins and glanced hesitantly at the large gold coin, still winking at him in the lantern light. He coughed. The stranger raised an eyebrow. “Was there something? . . .” Withdrawing his hands behind his back so that there could be no misunderstanding, no thought that he was trying to appropriate the gold piece, the tavern keeper inclined his head toward it several times. “The . . . gold. I’m wondering . . . is it . . . for anything at all now?” The stranger smiled. Again, the smile never reached his eyes. “Well, yes it is, as a matter of fact. It’s for information.” And now the tight feeling in the tavern keeper’s stomach seemed to ease right out of him. This was something he understood, particularly in this neighborhood. People often paid for information in Port Cael. And usually, they didn’t harm the people who gave it to them. “Information, is it?” he asked, allowing himself a smile. “Well, this is the place to ask and I’m your man to be asking. What is it you want to know, your honor?” “I want to know whether the Black O’Malley has been in this evening,” the young man said. And suddenly, that tight feeling was back. 


Excerpted from "Halt's Peril"
by .
Copyright © 2012 John Flanagan.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice Series #9) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 782 reviews.
Lilith-Hawk More than 1 year ago
I love the Ranger's Apprentice series. It's hooked me since the first page of book one, with great characters, interesting plotlines, and just wonderful writing. It's a true hero's story about a young orphan, Will, and the way his life changes when a mysterious Ranger, Halt, takes him as an apprentice. But the story also has a theme of friendship and trust, which I just loved. The story is put together throughout books one through eight, in a different, but effective way. (Books one through four are Will as an apprentice, books five, six, and eight are when he is full Ranger, and seven is in the middle of the two groups.) Book nine looks both exciting and great. Halt is, by far, my favorite character, and "Halt's Peril" might mean some bad news for him. (Apparently there is a funeral at the end. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!) Anyhow, the Ranger's Apprentice series is great , and more than worth reading. I'm positive that this beautifully writing fantasy will not let you down for a moment. I can't wait!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my favorite book yet. I loved the whole series since the beginning and my favorite character has always been Halt. Halt always makes me laugh with his humor. I was at the saddest part in the book when i was in class reading after taking a test and i almost started crying right in the middle of class! This is my favorite series. Now one of my friends is reading the series. RANGER'S APPRENTICE RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now on to the part of why i am ashamed of some of you "reviewers". You guys use these review boards as your own hang out!!!!!! It is supposed to be a place where people who have read the book can tell others how the book was,but you people use it so you can play pretend. Its annoying for people who want to know if the book is good to have to scroll by all your posts talking to each other and playing. I am done with having to practically search for actual reviews so i am gonna report everyone of you because you deserve to have your post taken down and you should be banned. You guys just do it everywhere and its annoying having to read, "This is our clans place only we can post here! Go find your own place to post!!!!!" You all know who you are and you guys dont care about anyone but yourselves. You also swear and that is not good if kids see it. Please give me your feedback, like if you agree or disaggree with my ending. Thank You!
FantasyRider More than 1 year ago
Halt may be the character featured on this book's cover and title, but never have we seen so much action from Will and Horace they work with Halt to chase after the Outsider's run for their lives. With each book in this series, we find out more and more how deep the relationship is between the two rangers and the young knight. Each member of this close knit team is incredible in their own right - but is a force to be reckoned with when working together. Tears will come to your eyes at the conclusion of this book as we find that the love between Will and his adopted family will never cease. I can't wait until The Emperor of Nihon-ja is released in April 2011!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a teen girl and I love the series. I really don't care what anyone else says, Ranger's Apprentice rocks! This book is really good and HILARIOUS! I was laughing a ton. A must-read for fantasy and adventure lovers, boys and girls alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recomended! But you need to read the first eight!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly the best so far ive read. It is incredible. Thatsvthe only way to put it. Simply incredible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how John engineers his stories so you can tell it is told in 1200 ish but is told with a twist of tactics and democracy from modern times. Keep writing Flanagan and make the next series even more amazing (Brotherband chronicles is already released at this point so don't count that)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is wicked ever since my mom showed it to me i could never takemy eyes off of it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*nods head* always a good series
IBIM3 More than 1 year ago
My son started this series in 6th grade and hasn't stopped ready it. Since I read some of his books so I know what he is reading and stay connected as a mom I started reading this series and I haven't stopped yet. It is a great story! Kudos to the author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is realy great and it has a lot of suspence and action, the kind that gets you to finish the book in one day. I really recomend this book to you if your a fan of the rangets apprentice serries. This book just is the perfect way to continue the series and i highley suggest reading it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great i loved it no one tell if halt dies or not cause a lot of reviewed it but haven't actually read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this series and hopee that flannagan writes more similar stories. One of my personal favorite series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this series to check it out for my son. I fell in love with the characters along the way. Gosh I want to say more but I am afraid I will ruin the story. I loved the ending. It made me cry and want a little more.
zf1 More than 1 year ago
this is a really good book when they are haveing the fight in the woods
Camille McGadney More than 1 year ago
This is the best book in the series i want to read it agian and again
CoreyHolst on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Always fun to ride along with Will, Halt and Horace. "Halt's Peril" (book 9) is the continuation of the storyline from "Kings of Clonmel" (Book 8) as the three representatives of Araluen chase down a scam artist of a preacher who thrives on violence and fear as motivational tools for joining his false religion. Like all thieves, his objective is greed and he hasn't got prayer of defeating the kingdom's two most beloved and heroic Rangers. Another solid installment of a terrific series. If you haven't started the series yet, start from Book 1: the Ruins of Gorlan. If, like me, you've read them all, then you don't need my recommendation, you're already hooked.
krau0098 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
This is the ninth book in the Ranger¿s Apprentice series. The tenth book is the Emperor of Nihon-Ja. There is also one additional book titled The Lost Stories which released late in 2011. This book does a good job of wrapping up the story that started in, The Kings of Clonmel. Like previous books it is a solid middle grade fantasy, but nothing incredibly creative or outstanding.Halt, Will, and Horace are on the trail of Tennyson and the rest of the Outsider cult. When one of the Genovesan assassins gets a good shot in at Halt things turn dire. Can Will get help on time? Or will this be the end of Halt¿s adventures? As stated by the title, Halt is in dire peril.I don¿t have a ton to say about this book. It you like the series you should read this book. This is basically the second half of the story that was started in Kings of Clonmel. It is a bit darker than previous books and had some slow spots. But like previous books there is some great banter and humor throughout and the fight scenes are exceptionally well done.These books are pretty formulaic; there¿s a problem, Halt and crew try to fix it, something horrible happens, Will saves the day, they fix the problem and life goes on. The books are well written and fun to read, but there isn¿t anything all that interesting or creative here.I missed that none of the female characters featured, but enjoyed that Malcom was back in the story some. Halt seemed a bit tired throughout, like he was feeling his age. Will didn¿t really show much growth as a character either.Overall this was a good addition to the series. I felt like this book was a bit darker and moved a bit slower than previous books. It was good to complete the story started in Kings of Clonmel and I enjoyed the witty banter between the characters. The book is well written, pretty typical fantasy fare...nothing all that creative but solid. Recommended for fans of middle grade fantasy.
cdhtenn2k10 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Even after nine books I still find myself enjoying the three main characters of this series. That being said, I was a little bored by this book. The writing is fine, the characters are fine, the dialog is as good as ever. The problem for me was the pacing. There is a stretch in the middle that is very slow, with lots of fretting, descriptions, and recounting of the past. In other words, it got boring. Which is too bad. There was an energy in the earlier books that was very exciting, bit which has ebbed of late. Part of the problem is that we are so familiar with the characters that while they are together, there is no discovery going on. They know who they are, we know who they are, and while they are still enjoyable to spend time with, there is nothing new in their relationships. Also, the Ranger's Apprentice isn't an apprentice any more, and is by all accounts extremely competent, so that tension is gone, too.So after nine books we find ourselves with some old friends with whom we are very comfortable, in a story that slows down in the middle to the point of boredom. Even so, I'll still come back for the next book, because Will, Halt, and Horace are compelling enough that I want to see what happens to them next.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I'll never grow tired of this series. Can't wait for book ten. Halt gets hit by a poisoned arrow, and the assassin who shot it isn't telling which poison he used. Had me biting my nails and hoping Halt would make it.
Rangers on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I have read all the books in the series many times and my nickname at school has now become Rangers.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Book 9 in the Ranger's Apprentice Series. Halt, Will and Horace are hot on the trail of the cult leader Tennyson, who has made his way back into their home country. Tennyson sends his assassins out to stop them.