THE ROYAL RANGER: ESCAPE FROM FALAISE by John F. Flanagan, Viking Books for Young Readers, Nov. 2, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 10 and up)
Return to the world of the Ranger’s Apprentice in the fifth installment of John Flanagan’s The Royal Ranger series, Escape from Falaise.
After their plan to rescue the prince of Gallica has gone horribly wrong, Will Treaty and his apprentice, Maddie, are being held captive at the Chateau des Falaises in Gallica. The dangerous baron Lassigny is intent on keeping them — and the prince — no matter what. But Will and Maddie are determined to escape.
If they ever want to return to their home, they’ll have to find ways to outwit the baron and get outside the locked tower. When friends from home endeavor to find their own way to help it seems escape is closer than ever. But the dirty tricks of the baron are no laughing matter.
Facing dangerous threats, battles with knights, and a new and risky plot to save the prince — the odds are stacked against them. But the Rangers will use all the tools of their trade to save themselves and save the day. —Synopsis provided by Viking Books for Young Readers
The Royal Ranger series is a spinoff from Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, which follows skilled trackers, archers and warriors in the service of the King of Araluen. The apprentice is Will, an orphan who is mentored by Halt. Will is also joined by his best friend, Horace.
The Royal Ranger series introduces readers to a new apprentice; one with a royal background. The first four books are A New Beginning, The Red Fox Clan, Duel at Araluen, and The Missing Prince.
Escape from Falaise is the second half of a story arc, and as such needs to be read after The Missing Prince. However, if you’re going to go back and read The Missing Prince, you might as well start from the beginning. You’ll be glad you did. It’s an excellent series.
In Escape from Falaise Maddie feels less like an apprentice and more like a skilled ranger. Will is still her mentor, but it’s less basic training and more finesse. This dynamic lends itself well to the storyline and also marks Maddie’s progression.
It’s always a joy to return to Flanagan’s world. His writing is easy and familiar. His books play out cinematically and there’s never any ambiguity. Escape from Falaise is a great addition to the series. The book wraps things up nicely while still leaving plenty of room for expansion.
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