The Lost Stories by John Flanagan
Ranger's Apprentice Book 11. Random House, 2011. ISBN: 978 1 86471
Highly recommended for ages 10+. During the opening pages in which a team of archaeologists are excavating Castle Redmont, Audrey, one of the team, stumbles upon the remains of a Ranger's hut. Amongst the artifacts, she and the Professor find a bundle of manuscripts which tell The Lost Stories of Araluen. Amongst these tales, Will learns the full story of his heritage and the events leading to his becoming an orphan, stories behind the battles, the breeding program of the Ranger ponies and major celebrations and events such as weddings are described in far greater detail.
After initially having to be cajoled by students and my son into reading the first book of the series, I have become a major devotee of Flanagan's work. The language used does not suit the times in which the series is set, yet this just serves to make the book more accessible to younger readers. Each book is engaging, easy to read, filled with adventure but at the same time balanced by the relationships between the characters and their personal growth and development. Although it is predominantly boys who read these books, the series has a great deal to offer the female reader as well.
Whilst I can see the purpose of the introduction to this story, I am not sure that it necessarily fits with the rest of the book. Likewise, the introduction to the new series in a similar manner seems a tad contrived. That aside, I still enjoyed the stories immensely and look forward to the second Brotherband title.