Brotherband Chronicles, Book 1
By John Flanagan
Brotherband Chronicles is a companion trilogy to John Flanagan’s wildly popular Ranger’s Apprentice series. The trilogy follows a half-Skandian, half-Araluen boy, Hal, and his group of friends on their journey to be recognized as warriors by the Skandian adults.
When his best friend Mikkel is killed during a raid, Skandian warrior Thorn promises to watch out for his son and wife. While returning to Skandia, the wolfship is caught in a storm and Thorn loses his hand, an injury which costs him his career and his self-confidence.
Years pass and Thorn becomes a broken-down old drunk. Mikkel’s wife, who has been able to support herself by opening a restaurant, gives Thorn work around her restaurant on the condition that he will quit drinking. The job gives Thorn new purpose in life and enables him to keep his promise to watch out for Mikkel’s son, Hal.
As the son of a former slave, Hal is avoided or teased by most of the other Skandian boys. He soon begins brotherband training and Thorn gives him advice on how to handle the other boys. When the teams are chosen, Hal finds himself grouped with seven other misfits. Hal soon realizes that in order to beat the other two teams he must use his brotherband’s unique skills to outwit their stronger opponents.
I thought The Outcasts was an excellent addition to the Ranger’s Apprentice universe. Hal and his friends were interesting characters and the solutions they came up with to the situations they face were believable. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of John Flanagan and the Ranger’s Apprentice series.