The Tournament at Gorlan is the prequel story of Halt and Crowley's reforming of the Ranger Corp in order to defeat the political scheming of Baron MoThe Tournament at Gorlan is the prequel story of Halt and Crowley's reforming of the Ranger Corp in order to defeat the political scheming of Baron Morgorath. It brings together favorite characters from the original series as they are in their 20's, ripe for action and friendship. Each character is pretty well-drawn and only partially relies on previous knowledge in order to understand them fully. I was expecting a little more character development from the major players, but most seemed little different from how they were twenty or thirty years later. Most of their Ranger skills are fully-formed, though there is a brief mention of Halt taking some lessons from other Rangers on their journey together. Two sentences does not a development make. Halt had a lot to learn about Ranger horses and how to talk to beautiful women, but that seemed about it--although the novel reminded me why I love Halt's dour wit so much! Honestly, it seemed only Prince Duncan really had a lot still to learn about politics and delivery. Unfortunately, there were a few spots where the author kept repeating statistics and background information ad nauseum, which became rather annoying after awhile. Being told twice was plenty! Whereas I think a reader new to the series could possibly start with this book, they'd lose something in the understanding of the inside jokes. Even though the author is very careful to explain everything well, faithful readers would have a more heightened experience of dramatic suspense....more
It took me three months to get to this neighborhood book club book, but once I started I had to finish it in one sitting. This is the autobiography ofIt took me three months to get to this neighborhood book club book, but once I started I had to finish it in one sitting. This is the autobiography of Bill Sands, who has done almost everything there is to do in life: he has been a race car driver, comedian, pilot, dance studio owner, swim instructor, soldier, oil man, and construction manager just to name a few. But he started out the spoiled and abused only child of two politicians, eventually ending up in prison for armed robbery. The warden took an interest in him and Bill put together a successful program to shorten the gap of communication between guards and inmates of his prison, leading to many great reforms and an early release two years later. He spent his life working hard and trying his hand at everything--succeeding at almost everything he put his mind to. But no matter how well settled he was, he was never content and continued to move on from one thing to another. This is the story of the people he met along the way, the development of his faith and ideals, and how he discovered his life's calling to make a difference in the lives of youth and give them more options than a path to jail. The book was very well written and a joy to read. There were so many quotable, excellent points of reason that I found (even though I had borrowed the book) I immediately had to order my own copy so I could mark it up to share its wisdom with others. I couldn't find much online about Bill Sands, which greatly disappointed me, but this book was sure a great legacy to leave behind him....more
While I enjoyed the story of a reporter framed for his boss' murder, there were too many coincidences to make this story real for me--even for ChristiWhile I enjoyed the story of a reporter framed for his boss' murder, there were too many coincidences to make this story real for me--even for Christian fiction where everything seemingly coincidental can be attributed to God's plan. ...more
I'm glad I didn't know about this series until the third book was published, or I would have gone crazy waiting for the first story arc to finish. ThiI'm glad I didn't know about this series until the third book was published, or I would have gone crazy waiting for the first story arc to finish. This was another great read, but I thought Flanagan missed a good opportunity to tie up loose ends with the other pirates and the earlier-met traders between his final two chapters. With so much time put into the narrative of the journey TOWARD the pirates, the novel lacked EVERYTHING about the journey back home. It was a great, fast-paced read, but I wanted more from it....more
This is a great addition to the series, but I won't pretend it really felt like an ending---sure, everyone grew more, but they do that every book. TheThis is a great addition to the series, but I won't pretend it really felt like an ending---sure, everyone grew more, but they do that every book. The action was neatly portrayed (as always) and even the side characters were intriguing, but I thought he rushed the ending a little. The battle came to a swift conclusion (not a problem within the plot), but then that part of the story just ended cold turkey. I wanted to know more about the interactions of the warring parties that had come together for the last push. I especially wanted to know how the outsiders were treated when the people saw some of their legends were absolutely false. Overall, I loved the book (though it took me four months to pick it up again after hitting page 130), but found some important story angles lacking within the narrative. ...more
The story picks up after the war with Tira, as Enna and friends journey to Tira as ambassadors of peace between the countries. This tale centers arounThe story picks up after the war with Tira, as Enna and friends journey to Tira as ambassadors of peace between the countries. This tale centers around Razo, the oft-ignored runt of the King's Own, who cannot fathom why he was invited to take part in the entourage. Upon entering the kingdom, the party begins to find burned bodies, specifically placed within their proximity to rouse rebellion in the beaten country and throw suspicions on Enna, the fire-witch. Razo must use all of his latent, undiscovered talents and growing friendships among the town's citizens to discover the truth behind the burned bodies, the growing interest of the ambassador's daughter, and the clumsy attempts on the Bayern ambassador's life.
It was fun to read about Razo's development and growing attraction for another gifted girl, but I had a hard time understanding the motivations of the other familiar characters.