Ranger’s Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan (2010)

“The Senshi must learn. They must adapt. They cannot continue to treat the people – my people – as inferiors. We need our workers, just as we need our warriors. Without workers, there would be no food for the Senshi, no timber for their homes, no firewood to heat them or for the forges that create their swords. They must see that everybody contributes and there should be greater equality” (p 13).

emperor_of_nihon-jaHorace is studing the sword techniques of the Nihon-Ja Senshi warriors with the Emporer when Arisaka, possibly the most skilled Senshi, stages a military coup. Reluctant to leave, Horace and his companion, the scribe George, are swept up by events when their party is attacked.

Many leagues away, Will, Halt and Alyss are overseeing treaty negotiations in the south when they hear of Horace’s disappearance. They set out immediately, encountering a few obsticles on the way but nothing their cunning can’t handle.

Some old aquantances appear in this final volume in the Ranger’s Apprentice series (a series dear to my heart for its endearing characters). Flanagan’s dialog is just fantastic. I feel like I know every one of his characters. The action, though sometimes predictable in a broad sense, is nuanced in the details.

I just can’t express how sorry I am this is the end. For once, I was not at all unpset about a “Hollywood ending” (which was, in fact, very amusing). A wonderful series:

Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan
Book 2: The Burning Bridge
Book 3: The Icebound Land
Book 4: The Battle for Skandia
Book 5: The Sorcerer of the North
Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw
Book 7: Erik’s Ransom
Book 8: The Kings of Clonmel
Book 9: Halt’s Peril
Book 10: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

Library copy (print) | Philomel | April 19, 2011 | Ages 9-14 | ISBN: 978-0399255007 | 438 pages | $17.99

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