Kathy Davie's Reviews > The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan
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Sep 06, 11

bookshelves: action, children, fantasy, history, homey, military
Read in August, 2011

Tenth in the Ranger's Apprentice fantasy-adventure series about Will Treaty and his mentor, Halt.

The Story
The core group has split up. Horace and Gregory have gone to visit the Emperor of Nihon-Ja while Alyss, Will, and Halt are in Toscana reviewing Toscan troops and negotiating a treaty between Toscana and Arridi; Selethen is there "to negotiate a trade and military pact with the Toscan Senate".

Unfortunately for Horace, there seems to be more ill will towards the emperor's plans than anyone had suspected when Lord Arisaka and one of his allies storms the palace in the capitol city and plans an ambush for the royal party as they return from the mountains. Unfortunately for the ambushers, the royal party has Horace and once the enemies are defeated, Shegiru and his people retreat back into the mountains to the Kikori peoples in hopes they can lead them to an ancient fortress, Ran-Koshi.

Horace, naturally, insists on going with the emperor and George agrees to get to the harbor and get word out to Will and Halt. Quite fortuitous as Will, Halt, Alyss, Evanlyn, and Selethen bring their particular insights and skills to the party as well as the training regime they observed among the Toscans.

The Characters
Will Treaty has some mad skills and has been a Ranger for some years now. Halt has been Will's mentor ever since Will signed up and together they form a formidable partnership. Alyss is a Courier, skilled in diplomacy and negotiation…and in love with Will. Princess Cassandra, a.k.a., Evanlyn, is in love with Horace and desperate to sail to his aid.

Selethen, an Arridi leader, negotiating on behalf of the Arridi Emrikir, is a friend of Will, Halt, Alyss, and Evanlyn (see Erak's Ransom).

Horace, a.k.a., Black Bear in Nijon-Ja, is the Knight and Swordmaster destined to replace the Battlemaster for Araluen. Nearly unbeatable, Horace has an affinity for battle and is in Nihon-Ja with George Carter acting as liaison and diplomat to learn about their weapons and battle styles.

Emperor Shigeru is a forward-looking ruler interested in protecting all of his people, not just the Senshi who believe all others are nothing and treat them as such. Naturally, with such a threat to the order of their world, as well as pique about being passed over for the position as emperor, Lord Arisaka betrays his vows and attacks while the emperor is at his Summer Palace.

My Take
I'm worried. The cover says this is the Final Battle. I sure hope this doesn't mean it's the last story in the Ranger's Apprentice series!

I absolutely adore this series. It promotes independence, forethought, consideration, and decency. Kids, adults and animals are treated well. In this particular story, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, the emperor has such a wise way of living and treating people that Horace absorbs and considers. I so look forward to how Horace uses these new insights in the next installment!! ...*hint*...*hint, hint*

The Cover
The cover is perfect for this story although I'm not sure what the arch of embossed metal is about. Otherwise, the Asian warriors slashing about with their katanas as they cross the rickety bridge strung over the chasm reflect one of the battles occurring in The Emperor of Nihon-Ja. The title is also very appropriate since Horace is visiting the emperor.
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