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Brotherband Bk 7: The Caldera by John Flanagan.

November 17, 2017 Comments off

calderaBrotherband Bk 7: The Caldera by John Flanagan. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2017.

Hal, Stig, Ulf and Wulf, Lydia, Thorn and dog Kloof are a Brotherband in the Skandian culture and they sail a technically superior viking ship, the Heron, due to a movable boom sail rig invented by Hal the Skirl or captain. They take on dangerous missions all over the Skandian world and such is their team work and skill that they are always successful.

When Stig’s father Olaf turns up after deserting his family and crew 20 years previously a new adventure begins. Olaf has work as chief palace guard for the Empress of Constanta a city identical to the modern day Istanbul. The Empress is Regent to her young son who has been kidnapped by to true baddy with the name Myrgos.

Myrgos has a fortress in a caldera of a volcano which has opened to the sea and his fortress is at the top of a cliff overlooking the caldera.

Hal and his crew are asked by Olaf to rescue the Empress’s son and clear his name at the same time. But all is not as it seems. Read it and enjoy the action, it is outstanding and compulsive reading.

Told in the same easy style of previous Brotherband books and you do not have to have read the earlier novels to know what is going on. John Flanagan neatly brings you up to scratch in Part 1 of the novel and then you are straight into the action against the villain Myrgos and the river pirates of the Dan river.

Lots of sailing talk and sea and river battles that are brilliantly described. I was disturbed when Lydia the only female member of Hal’s crew was wounded in the first battle of the novel but I knew she would get up again.

For intermediate and junior secondary readers but I am sure older and younger confident readers will easily cope with this novel. Leadership is a constant theme of this series, what does it take to be a leader?

Reluctant boys – this is for you.

Brotherband Bk4: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan.

July 22, 2014 Comments off

slaves socorroBrotherband Bk4: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan. Pub. Random House, 2014.

A thrilling action/adventure book from the author of the Rangers Apprentice series. This time Hal and his Heron Brotherband crew take their innovative ship with the triangular sail to protect the seas off the coast of Araluen, the kingdom where the Rangers come from.

Their job is to stop smuggling and piracy but they come across a bigger evil – slavery.

Tursgud has never gotten over Hal beating him in the Brotherband contest with his team of outcasts and a superior ship that Hal had built and conceived himself. This time Tursgud and his bunch of Skandian outlaws raid a village and take hostages to the slave market in Socorro a place akin to the Barbary Coast in North Africa.

Accompanied by a tough but beautiful girl Lydia and one of the Rangers from the King of Araluen Hal and his crew pursue Tursgud to get the slaves back. Hal has with him his mentor Thorn, a massive viking type warrior with a hooked arm, twins Ulf and Wulf who squabble like a couple of turkeys and the gentle giant Ingvar.

To get the slaves out they have to try to sell Ingvar as a slave in Socorro. This leads to thrilling action. You will not be able to stop reading the last 120 pages. One of the strong themes in this book is the emphasis on team work and leadership.

For intermediate and junior high school students. Book 5 is already out for fans.

Brotherband Book 1: The Outcasts by John Flanagan.

November 27, 2011 Comments off

Brotherband Bk 1 The Outcasts by John Flanagan. Pub. Random House, 2011.

I love Viking stories and Viking warrior culture because it is exciting and gives us some terms such as berserk, valhalla and saga which evoke thoughts of  prowed ships, laden with axe wielding helmeted warriors coming out of the mist seeking gold and jewels. This is such a story.

Set in the kingdom of Skandia, Hal is the son of a freed slave who will always be treated as an outcast but who possesses qualities that the local Skandian lads admire and fear at the same time. Hal has  a guardian called Thorn, a strong warrior and friend of his dead father but now reduced to a target of ridicule after losing a hand and hitting the bottle.

Hal has a friend called Stig, also an outcast and they will become a formidable pair.

All the Skandian lads at the age of 16 years attend training to become warriors at Brotherband and this novel is about their training and first exposure to battle. The training is excellent reading as the qualities of competition, of teamwork, of courage and particularly of leadership are brought out as the lads now in three teams thrash it out.

One important lesson learned is that most fights are won with the first two or three punches. There are bloodthirsty pirates around to provide tension and action. Gritty stuff.

John Flanagan also wrote bestselling series Rangers Apprentice and this series will attract those readers and others of high school age and good readers at intermediate level.

I look forward to the rest of the series.