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The Icebound Land
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Gr 5-9-The young Ranger apprentice, Will, faces capture by Skandian raiders in the icebound North in this audio presentation of John Flanagan's third installment (Philomel, 2007) in the series. Accompanied by friend Evanlyn, a young woman bearing a secret regarding her birthright, Will is tossed about in stormy seas aboard the ship of Seawolves who threaten to hold the pair hostage or sell them into slavery in Skandia, a Nordic-like homeland. New characters such as the ship's captain, Erak, are introduced by British narrator, John Keating, who deftly captures the gritty, sharp-tongued pirate voices and the soft-spoken teenaged captives. In alternating chapters, returning characters, Halt (Will's mentor) and Horace (Will's friend), are expelled from Araluen for insulting the King and decide to use the opportunity to set out and find Will. Their adventures alternate with Will and Evanlyn's dilemma and clearly steal the limelight as they travel on horseback through Gallica, being challenged at every turn by unscrupulous knights who are laugh-out-loud comical in their ineptness. Halt, as Horace's teacher, is a wise and multidimensional character, whose wry sense of humor will engage listeners and keep them on the edge of their seats as they try to anticipate his next move. Vivid imagery and detail make the medieval-like elements believable. Keating makes the production entertaining, and the cliff-hanging conclusion is sure to have fantasy fans hoping for another installment.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Will and Evanlyn, introduced in the first volume of John Flanagan`s Ranger's Apprentice series (which PW called "an exciting tale of battle and honor"), find themselves kidnapped and aboard a slave ship, having fought the evil Morgarath at the end of the last book. As Horace and Halt head towards Skandia to rescue their friends, they discover that many challenges stand in their way in Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land, the series' third installment. (Philomel, $16.99 256p ages 10-up ISBN 9780-399-24456-8; June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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