The “The Tournament of Gorlan” along with “The Battle of Hackham Heath” are prequel books to the Ranger’s Apprentice series. John Flanagan notes them as the series The Early Years. They help us unravel the mystery of who Halt is and how he became a Ranger.
Following “The Tournament of Gorlan” book “The Battle of Hackham Heath” delves into what happens after Morgarath and his people flee from the Baron’s fief under secrecy and what the kingdom does to deal with him. This is another story which is hinted upon in at least one of the other Ranger’s Apprentice books but never expanded upon. The heroics of the ranger corp and of Halt and Crowley themselves are shown.
Between having to save the Queen who is pregnant to trying to find out what Morgarath is doing in the mountains to finally the battles which ensued, there is no lack of energy, heroics, and mystery happening. It fits very well with the previous book and allows us to relieve that itch which some of us probably had with reading the Ranger’s Apprentice books.
Even the last chapter helps with a final itch on who Will truly is as he is mentioned. We had received a preliminary background on him in the Ranger’s Apprentice books, but there was always the question on if people were making certain things up or not. It is clearly spelled out in the last chapter and it is probably the best way to end the final book in the prequel to The Ranger’s Apprentice.
If you have not read The Ranger’s Apprentice series you can read it before or after these two books. I do not believe it really matters in which order you read them. I read them afterward, but that was mainly due to the fact that they were not written when I was enjoying the Ranger’s Apprentice books. If you read these and have not read them, you will greatly enjoy them if you enjoyed these. They are of similar substance and action.
I am thankful John Flanagan has another series which he has written, the Brotherband Chronicles, as I greatly enjoy his writing style and the world he has made. Those will be the next books I pick up and I expect to enjoy them as well.