Return of the Temujai by John Flanagan
Brotherband, book 8. Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780143785941.
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Themes: Action; Adventure; Conflict; Teamwork. John Flanagan writes with an amazing flair for tension and action-adventure stories for young adults who have grown up on video-game conflict. In this, his 24th book since the original successful Ranger's Apprentice series began and the 8th book of the side-shoot Brotherband series, there is action aplenty with risks taken and plans and strategies employed to defeat the advancing Temujai - the war-hungry nation of horse-riding archers. The Brotherband, usually sea-faring but also well-trained land-based fighters, are required to assess the defences of their Skandian countrymen. After an attack in a mountain strong-hold, and then in what seems to be an impossible up-river and against-the-odds sortie, the small band of misfit 'brothers' led by their youthful leader, Hal, are required to change the course of the threatening Temujai. The multi-faceted nature of their combat skills makes them a formidable defence team, but they are a quirky bunch of individuals!
This book is action from beginning to end, and yet there is warmth in the relationships between the ship-based Brotherband (which includes one female warrior) that tempers the adrenaline and ferocity of the conflict. This gentle warmth, trust and companionship makes this (or any book in the series) a book to recommend for male and female readers. The pace and tension of the story, with the intelligence of strategy as the characters are required to overcome adversity and fight to survive, will be loved by many readers.