The Lost Stories
Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 11
By John Flanagan
In honor of the release of The Royal Ranger, I’ve decided to post a review of the preceeding book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series, The Lost Stories, on the final novel’s Australian release date.
Rather than a novel like the other books in the series, The Lost Stories is a collection of short stories set mostly after The Emperor of Nihon-Ja. The framing story for The Lost Stories is set in the Republic of Aralan States in July 1896, about twelve hundred years after the rest of the series. While excavating the former site of Castle Redmont, Professor Giles MacFarlane and his assistant discover a stack of manuscripts in an old chest. The papers contain stories of the ancient King’s Rangers and their exploits following the mission to Nihon-Ja.
Along with the papers about Aralan, the professor also discovers a fragment of a Skandian record, confirming rumors of a half-Skandian, half-Araluen boy who revolutionized Skandian sail design.
“Death of a Hero” is a flashback to the first battle against Morgarath. After being injured on the field of battle, Halt promises the dying soldier who saved his life that he would watch out for his family, but finding them may be more difficult than he imangines.
“The Inkwell and the Dagger” is set during Halt’s mission to rescue Will from Skandia in The Icebound Land and The Battle for Skandia. The tale follows Gilan, Halt’s former apprentice as he tracks the outlaw Foldar, a former associate of Morgarath.
“The Roamers” tells a tale of Will and Alyss as they track a group of gypsy-like Roamers who have kidnapped Will’s dog Ebony. I disliked this story as Will seemed slightly out-of-character at certain parts.
“Purple Prose” is set shortly before Horace and Evanlyn’s wedding. While Will attempts to write a best man speech, he and Halt are called away to investigate reports of Moondarkers, robbers who cause shipwrecks to steal the cargo. Will seemed slightly out-of-character at certain points of this story as well
“Dinner for Five” is the story of a dinner date between Jenny and Gilan that goes terribly wrong when Jenny’s house is taken over by jewel thieves.
“The Bridal Dance” is the story of Horace and Evanlyn’s wedding. With preparations underway, Will arranges security for the wedding, but he can’t shake the feeling that he may have missed something important.
“The Hibernian” is set many years before the novel series. Crowley is a young Ranger, disgusted with the state of the Ranger Corps, when he meets a Hibernian who seems to have been trained by a Ranger.
“The Wolf” is a tale which explains the workings of the Ranger Corps horse breeding program. When Tug is injured by a renegade wolf, Will finds himself faced with a difficult decision.
“And About Time Too…” After nearly 30 years of friendship, and occasionally a little romance, Will and Alyss are tying the knot.
Overall, The Lost Stories is a great read and very enjoyable. “Death of a Hero” was probably my favorite story, while either “The Roamers” or “Purple Prose” were my least favorite, mostly because of Will. I would definitely recommend this book to all fans of the Ranger’s Apprentice series.