It is with a certain amount of sadness that I write about the last book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories (AR 18.0, Level 6.0) by Australia's John Flanagan is a great end to this adventure-filled series. This series, seemingly appealing to boys, is appealing to both genders. I know of a fifth grade teacher who could not put the first book, Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan (AR 12.0, Level 7.0), down until the wee hours of the night!
To explain the existence of these short stories, Mr. Flanagan creates a foreword and afterword in which archaeologists unearth these previously unknown tales of the Araluen rangers Will and Halt. These are auxiliary tales that would not fit within the confines of the ten other books and would not have a complex plot in which to write a whole novel.
But what a treasure trove of stories! Stories that answer questions that readers may have wondered about! In these pages, you will find answers to who Will's parents were, how Halt became a ranger, what happened to Horace and Evanlyn, and what happened to Will's love, Alyss. There are also stories about supporting characters like Gilan, Jenny, and Ebony. An especially emotionally resonant story is the tale called, "The Wolf," in which we learn the fate of faithful and loyal Tug.
Flanagan also creates an excellent bridge between his Ranger's Apprentice series and his new series, The Brotherband Chronicles. So, enjoy this last wonderful adventure with Will and his mentor, Halt!