The “The Tournament at 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.
In “The Tournament at Gorlan” we are first introduced to Halt and Crowly who are well known in The Ranger’s Apprentice series. At this point, they are young men and trying to unravel a mystery that is gripping the Araulen kingdom. We learn about Halt’s background, how he came to be in this kingdom, and how he was trained. Which are all things hinted about in The Ranger’s Apprentice books.
If you have read the Ranger’s Apprentice series then you may remember the Tournament of Gorlan and Morgarath’s name being mentioned at least once. These were events that never expanded upon but which made both Halt and Crowley the legendary Rangers they are known to be in the series.
This book expands on the battle which starts everything. Halt and Crowley are not mere young men to take their worlds being upheaved very well. They decide to dig deeper into the mystery that is happening within the kingdom and so doing they find treason, lies, and deceit which others have taken all for common place.
By the end of this first book lies have been revealed and a line in the sand has been drawn. Truthfully, it is hard not to rush into the book which follows this one as they could have all been one large book, but being a young adult book it made sense to break them up.