You look up at two men on shaggy horses. The men have bows, just hunter’s weapons. The more impressive figure is riding in front of them. He is on a battle horse. He looks like he is in charge. Although, there is more to the men than meets the eye. This dynamic trio may be Araluen's most trusted group of men. Will and Halt, the two Rangers, and Horace, the swordsman, investigate the mysterious group called the “Outsiders” who believe in a new god called Alseiass. This group promises protection from the “bad god” Balsennis. Or, is this group something more than just a new religion? Will and Halt will have to sort out the problems of Clonmel by using the special skills of the Rangers.
Ever since the first chapter in this series I have not been able to put the books down. Every time you read one of John Flanagan’s books you get lost in it. The detail he has put into his books makes you feel like you are there with the characters. You can imagine yourself with the characters looking at the surrounding area and wondering which direction you will be headed off to next. One of John Flanagan’s best strengths is that he is a fantastic suspense writer. He also has magnificent detail in his writing. Another strength of his is how well he can write action scenes. When there is a fight scene, he will describe every hit, miss, dodge, you name it. The few things I would change about the story are that I wish the author would make Will know more stuff. Will was Halt’s apprentice and yet Halt still knows a lot more about things than Will. Also I wish that there were more than just three people that are investigating the situation. The theme of the story is do what is right. In this story Will, Horace, and Halt will get put head first into the problem of another kingdom. They will find out why some kingdoms around Clonmel are crumbling and what this group that calls themselves the Outsiders are doing. Are there really new gods, one for good and one for bad? Is the group that follows the “Golden God” Alseiass any worse than the “Bad God” Balsennis? Is Tennyson (leader of the Alseiass religion) really a prophet for good and does he have special powers?
This book is very gripping and leaves you on the end of your seat. This is a great book if you like action, adventure, and suspense. I would recommend this book for 5th-8th grade boys. This book is the ninth book in the series and the author has not lost his stride. You have to read the series in order to understand it. In this book, you will learn Halt’s mysterious background and find out who is the true king of Clonmel. If you tell yourself that you will only read one more chapter, you will find yourself reading another three chapters. I would rate this book a nine out of ten.