This is the first in a series that is a prequel to The Ranger's Apprentice series. In this one Halt and Crowley are young men fighting against the evil Morgarath who is plotting to overthrow good King Oswald. Morgarath has dismissed all the rangers who are loyal to Oswald and has replaced them with his own men. Halt and Crowley unite the dismissed rangers and make plans to confront Morgarath at the annual Tournament at Gorlan.
If readers like the original Ranger's Apprentice, they will like this series. It is really just more of the same. Crowley replaces Will in the snappy patter with Halt, but otherwise, it is the same formula: clever tactics and combat skills, close masculine relationships, castles, horses, and knights etc. I am not sure why I like these books so much. Even as I was listening to this one I was tempted to go back and listen to the original series again. I think it is the strong characters I like, and also the swagger. There is a lot of swagger but Flanagan adds a good dose of humor, too. I had hoped this book would explain how Halt left Ibernia and was trained as a ranger, but the forward explains that that story can be found in The Lost Stories (Which is #11 in the Ranger's Apprentice series. I think I stopped at #10). So now I have that book on hold. (384 p.)