Brotherband, The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan

Brotherband, The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan; 2016;$18.99; 383 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-16357-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 7/8/16-7/11/16

Why did I read this?  Because I have read every other book that John Flanagan has written and look forward to each new book.

The latest adventure of Hal Mikkelson and the crew of the Heron finds them encountering a severe storm on their way home and being blown way off course.  After coming perilously close to dying on the open ocean from lack of food and water, they make landfall in a place that has water and food.  After a short time Lydia and Thorn find signs that there are other people about.   After an initial confrontation they come to an understanding and work together to fend off an attack from a marauding tribe who has been attacking them for years.  The crew of the Heron, become friends with those are helping and one even falls for a native maiden and help defeat the other tribe.  Each group teaches the other important lessons before the Heron and its crew sail for Skandia.

Grade A



Ingvar rising

Brotherband, Book 5, Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan; 2014; $18.99;451 pages; Philomel Books, New York, New York; 978-0-399-16356-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 10/31/15-11/3/15

The princess of Araulen has a contract out on her and as the duty ship the Heron and Ranger Gilan are called upon.  King Duncan tasks them with traveling to the headquarters of the cult of assassins who hold the contract.  On the way they encounter many obstacles before arriving at Scorpion Mountain.  Hal once again uses his mind to conquer the obstacles that confront the brotherband.  The assassins insists that they only way a contract can be terminated is by the death of the target, but Gilan comes up with another way to terminate it.  During the course of the story Hal comes up with a innovative way to make Ingvar an even more productive member of the crew.


Did I enjoy it?  Very much,  each of these books highlights various members of the crew and highlights how the mind is often mightier than the bicep.

What is with the title of the review?  Ingvar is a member of the Heron brotherband, who due to his nearsightedness has been relegated to the sidelines much of the time and only used sparingly.  Hal comes up with a way to make Ingvar an even more important member of the crew.



Brotherband, Book 4, Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan; 2014; $18.99; 462 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-16355-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 8/28/15-8/31/15

The Heron and the brotherband have been assigned to be the duty ship in the Skandian allied Kingdom of Araluen.  They pick up the Ranger Gilan to go to Araluen and encounter a slaver.  The slaver turns out to be their Skandian nemesis Tursgurd of the Shark brotherband so they follow his to Scorro and try to negotiate the release of the slaves.  One of them has to stay behind in the slave market while the others figure out how to rescue the those taken.  The rescue is a great adventure and battle between the brotherband and those who run the slave market.  Hal and crew recover those taken and return to Araulen.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes it was another exciting adventure of Hal and the Heron brotherband.  Again the might of the brain is almost as important to the story as the strength of those involved.

What is with the title of the review?  It has nothing to do with the Bond villain played by Richard Kiel.  The antagonist in the story is the Herons nemesis, Tursgurd, head of the Shark Brotherband.


A victory that had eluded them

Brotherband Chronicles, Book 3, The Hunters by John Flanagan; 2012; $18.99; 403 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0399-25621-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 10/25/15-10/28/15 

The Heron Brotherband continues on its quest to recover the Skandian artifact that was stolen on their watch in the first book of the series.  Hal again continues to use the power of his mind and the power of his crew to challenge those who would do wrong and get in their way.  The encounter many obstacles and emerge victorious and return home to a great reception.  The author manages to bring out new aspects of each character in each book.  We are growing to know them better as they are growing in their skills and lives.


Did I enjoy it?  Yes, it was another exciting adventure in the lives of the Heron Brotherband and their sister.  I really enjoy all the characters

What is with the title of the review?  After being introduced to the Heron brotherband and seeing them set off to recover the rare Skandian artifact that was stolen on their watch they have finally recovered it and triumphantly returned home with it.




An even better import than Max or Crocodile

Ranger’s Apprentice, The Early Years: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan; 2015; $18.99; 364 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-16361-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, St. Johns; 9/17/15-9/20/15

One of my most favorite imports from Australia is the Ranger’s Apprentice series that I was introduced to by Zach and Amanda Banker.  This is a prequel to the entire Ranger’s Apprentice series and is a story of Crowley and Halt before Halt was officially a Ranger and tells of a plot to unseat the sitting king and disband the Rangers.  Crowley and Halt recruit several of the Rangers who have been summarily fired and a former Ranger who trained Crowley and Halt.  Between the Rangers and some allies on the inside they manage to disrupt the plot to unseat the king.


Did I enjoy it?  I have never read anything by John Flanagan that I didn’t like.  Once again he has woven a great story of mind over might, using the brain as a weapon.

What is with the title of the review?  Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee are well known Australian imports but to me John Flanagan’s Ranger Apprentice and Brotherband books are better than either of them.