Undercover mission, nail-biting tension: Check out our review of Ranger’s Apprentice: The Royal Ranger 4: The Missing Prince by John Flanagan

Undercover mission, nail-biting tension: Check out our review of Ranger’s Apprentice: The Royal Ranger 4: The Missing Prince by John Flanagan

Author John Flanagan is a master world-builder. Across his many series –  Royal Ranger, The Brotherband Chronicles, and The Rangers Apprentice – he has developed an intricate landscape, seemingly set in medieval times, but completely imagined. The mythical world of this story is based on real history – Celtica is based on Wales, and Gallica is based on France – including language and customs from the chivalric age around the year 1300. 

The Missing Prince is Book Four in the series Rangers Apprentice: The Royal Ranger. In this series, our young heroine Maddie has been apprenticed to legendary Ranger, Will. The Ranger’s are a mysterious band of highly-skilled, royally-appointed guardians and protectors. Maddie is of royal descent and will eventually rule her country, but for now, there is an advantage to her learning the ways of the world, disguised as a Ranger’s Apprentice. Will feels the pressure of keeping his apprentice safe, while still allowing her to fulfil her desire to be a useful and successful Ranger. 

Will and Maddie are charged with a high-risk mission by King Duncan (Maddie’s father) which entails leaving the familiar surrounds of Celtica. The king of neighbouring Gallica has called for assistance to rescue his son who is being held captive by an evil baron. Though King Duncan has misgivings about using his Rangers as mercenaries he acknowledges that to do nothing would invite strife for his neighbour, and though King Philippe is not an entirely agreeable person, his reign is preferable to the reign of the evil baron. 

Will and Maddie set out to rescue the prince disguised as jongleurs, travelling entertainers who traditionally travel between towns and countries. To be believable they must polish up some existing skills and practice some new ones. There is humour and risk associated with these pursuits, as Maddie is an expert knife-thrower and learns juggling, while Will concentrates on being a passable musician. 

The rescue is a daring mission and Maddie must have nerves of steel to play her part. There is the danger of discovery – spies will be treated very harshly in the baron’s court. Can they safely extract the prince and return him to his court? Will the mission be successful? There is a resolution of sorts, but this book ends on a cliff-hanger that will leave the reader wanting to read more. 

Though the author draws on his interest in history and knowledge of warfare to build the world where this story occurs, it is not a slow stolid history lesson. Rather the history helps us to understand the characters’ motivations and missions, and it doesn’t get in the way of the grand adventure and nail-biting tension. 

John Flanagan has said that part of his motivation for writing this series was to create a story his son would be interested in reading and to demonstrate that there is an advantage to being agile, quick and quite short. This theme is current throughout this book and speaks to the diversity of the characters in The Missing Prince. 

Recommended for independent readers 9+ 

Reviews

Find out the secrets behind John Flanagan's bestselling series, Rangers Apprentice: The Royal Ranger

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19 October 2020

Find out the secrets behind John Flanagan's bestselling series, Rangers Apprentice: The Royal Ranger

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Publisher details

Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger 4: The Missing Prince
Author
John Flanagan
Publisher
Penguin
Genre
Young Adult Fiction
Released
29 September, 2020

Synopsis

The New York Times bestselling series continues with another nailbiting mission for Will Treaty and his fearless young apprentice.King Philippe of Gallica appeals to King Duncan for help. His son is being held hostage by a power-hungry baron, and Philippe wants Duncan to send a Ranger to rescue the boy.Will and Maddie are perfect for the task. Travelling as father and daughter to allay suspicion, they will pose as entertainers to infiltrate the Chateau des Falaises, where the prince is being held.But travelling through Gallica has its own risks: armed bandits, wild weather and even a mysterious follower all have to be faced and overcome. Will they ever find the prince?And if they do, how will they rescue him from the evil Baron Lassigny?
John Flanagan
About the author

John Flanagan

John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband adventure series have sold more than eight million copies worldwide. His books are available in more than one hundred countries, are regularly on the New York Times bestseller list, and have had multiple award shortlistings and wins in Australia and overseas. John, a former television and advertising writer, lives with his wife in a Sydney beachside suburb. 

Books by John Flanagan

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