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.



the crew grows

Brotherband Chronicles, Book 2-The Invaders by John Flanagan; 2012;$18.99; 429 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-25620-2; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 10/4/15-10/6/15

Hal and his brotherband along with Thorn an older Skandian warrior set out in search of the pirates who stole the Skandians most important treasure while they were guarding it.  Due to a storm at sea they are forced to lay up, at first they just loaf but Hal with some help from Thorn gets them back into shape and make a true brotherhood among them.  They are caught by some Skandians, who Hal thinks are to take him back to the Oberjal, but they are actually there to help recover the artifact.  They spot the pirate who has taken up residence in a town he wants to loot.  Using subterfuge and cunning they liberate the town, but the pirates get away.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, John Flanagan writes books where the most powerful people are the ones who use there mind the most.

What is with the title of the review?  The brotherband gains a sister while they are liberating the town.  She is skilled with some wicked throwing darts.

Companions to Will and Halt

Brotherband Chronicles, Book 1, The Outcasts by John Flanagan; 2011;$18.99; 434 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-25619-6; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 10/1/15-10/4/15

Hal is an outcast in his town, because of his mixed blood.  However he is a quick thinker, a tinkerer and a natural born leader.  In his country every year teen age boys are gathered together and trained to be seagoing warriors together.  The boys are mixed in brotherbands, who will live together, train together and ultimately sail and fight together.  There are twenty eight boys and Hal and seven other boys don’t get picked by the leaders of the two main brotherband teams so the heads of the training decide that they will be their own brotherband.  They have two fewer men in their brotherband and they are the outcasts, two bickering brothers, a strongman who can barely see beyond the end of his arm, a thief, a cook, an explosive temper and a nobody with Hal.  They end up winning the brotherband competition, but then are disgraced on their first night of duty and flee their hometown seeking redemption.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  I enjoy Flanagan’s ability to take a non conventional character and make him the heart and soul of the story.  These are as good as the Rangers Apprentice books by the same author.

What is with the title of the review?  If you have read the entire series of The Rangers Apprentice you will understand.