A word of warning for those planning on buying other books in the series. There are different covers, and different titles, for some of this series, depending on which country the book is being published in. "The Battle for Skandia", for example, is the same as "The Oakleaf Bearers" and this is not made clear enough on the Amazon site. Beware. Have a look at John Flanagan's own web site if you get confused. HOWEVER, this is a superb book. The whole series is superb. I most certainly no longer qualify as a young adult, let alone a child, but I have read them myself, my 11 year old has read them and we are now re-reading them out loud. In this book we are introduced to Will, desperate to become a knight but selected for the Rangers'Corps, as apprentice to Halt and is the tale of his initial training, his relationship with Halt and Horace and a marvellous battle. Flanagan's writing, particularly when you think these books are aimed at those in the 10-15 age group, is beautiful. He is not afraid to use words which will broaden any youngster's (and a few adults') language skills yet the meaning is always inherent in the passage. One of two reviewers have commented that the story may not be the most original in the world (are any of them any more?) but do not let this put you off. I would have to disagree with the reviewer who says they are very light: they are, yes, in that the plot is not wildly complicated but the use of language lifts it above others and gives it greater depth. Do give this a go. I am very happy to be disagreed with!