When the Skandian Oberjarl is taken hostage during a raid on the desert land of Arrida, his second-in-command, Svengal, asks the Araluans for help. Halt and Will must go with him to deliver the ransom and secure Erak’s freedom, but a royal presence is needed. The Princess Cassandra – or Evanlyn, as Will knows her – persuades her father to let her go with them. Horace and the Ranger Gilan round out the group to make sure that Evanlyn is well protected. But will violent sandstorms, warring tribes and danger at every turn keep them from reaching Erak in time?
The seventh book takes us back to the final year of Will’s apprenticeship, before the events related in Books 5 and 6.
I was excited to get back into The Ranger’s Apprentice series once we’d come home. If you remember from my first post Ranger’s Apprentice 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, a customer was lending the books to me. I obviously didn’t want to take them overseas with me, for both baggage allowance and that I didn’t want to ruin/lose them.
Erak’s Ransom doesn’t lead on from the last book, The Siege of Macindaw, it takes you back to before Will finishes his apprenticeship. Erak, the Oberjarl of Skandia, is captured and held to ransom by the Arridi, while he is on a raid. Svengal, his first mate, seeks the help of the kingdom of Araluen and Will, Halt, Horace, Evanlyn (Princess Cassandra), and Gilan with the rest of the wolf ship crew journey back to Arrida to negotiate the ransom and free Erak. However not everything goes according to plan.
I was really happy that the book went back to before Will graduated. As I mentioned in The Sorcerer in The North, I was a little disappointed that they’d missed the rest of his apprenticeship and graduation.
Will was again a great character. He obviously wasn’t perfect and he did make some mistakes however he was as loveable and faithful as ever. I was a little surprised at Halt’s character to be honest. I wouldn’t say in a bad way, or that he was unbelievable, it was just a surprise that came out of nowhere. Horace, Gilan, Erak and Svengal were all their usual steadfast and likeable selves. I was a lot more impressed with Evanlyn and she really held her own in this book.
I found that the book as a whole reduced in the maturity that I mentioned in Oakleaf Bearers, which I found surprising as this story was meant to be after that. I’m not sure if this was because the author was trying to make it clear that this book is meant to take place before The Sorcerer in The North. I didn’t mind so much that it was like this, it was a bit more lighthearted.
The book was really enjoyable and interesting. There were many times that my heart was in my mouth and I was holding my breath for quite a few pages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.
I would definitely recommend this book for children, young adults and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.