I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Return of the Temujai by John Flanagan
Genres: Action, Adventure, Historical
Published by Philomel Books on October 1, 2019
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Scorpion Mountain, The Tournament at Gorlan, The Ghostfaces, "The Beast From Another Time", The Caldera, The Red Fox Clan, Duel at Araluen
Eighth in the Brotherband Chronicles historical action-adventure series (a spin-off from Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series) for middle-grade readers revolving around the young Hal and his crew.
I do like the sailing terms Flanagan includes at the start. I also love that the Skandians are so practical about feeding the fort’s garrison so well. It only makes sense. As does Hal and Stig learning to ride horses, lol.
Flanagan uses third person point-of-view, primarily from Hal’s and Thorn’s perspectives.
While Return of the Temujai has plenty of action, it’s a bit dull for their usual adventures. The Heron‘s injuries are the most exciting, so to speak, of the story. Yes, yes, the brotherband’s actions in hostage-taking and their escape across the steppe and down the river and its rapids are certainly exciting, as is the ensuing battle and Hal’s escape. But…it doesn’t feel the same.
Still, it is a must-read…if only for the ending.
The Temujai need to conquer and now they’re coming east. To Skandia. They want the Skandian ships. And there might be another way the Temujai could invade.
Turns out, it’s not a scouting party…
Erak has come to rely on the Heron Brotherband for special missions.
Hal is the skirl, captain, of the Heron, a ship he designed and built in The Outcasts, 1. Stig is his second-in-command and best friend; Thorn is their battle master, who looks at ways problem could be overcome; Lydia is skillful with her atlatl and is an excellent tracker; Jesper is a former thief; Stefan is a brilliant mimic; Ingvar is a hulk of a lad with great strength and bad eyesight; Ulf and Wulf are twins and not too bright who like to riff off each other, driving the rest of the crew crazy with their nonsense; and, Edvin is their cook and medic who likes to knit. Edvin is considered the finest healer in Hallasholm. Kloof is their shaggy dog. Jake is Hal’s horse; Barney is Stig’s horse.
Erak is the Oberjarl, the ruler, of Skandia, and he’s based in Hallasholm. Wolfwind is his ship with Svengal, Erak’s best friend, as its skirl. Borsa is Erak’s hilfmann (chief administrator). Gert-by-Sea is an elderly widow. Rollond is skirl of Wolfrunner, a contemporary of the Heron‘s crew. Torval is part of Wolfrunner‘s crew. Dean is an Araluen archer commander.
Fort Ragnak is…
…the primary defensive line at Serpent Pass, the junction of the Skandian, Teutlandt, and Temujai borders. Leks Longshanks is a fellow skirl and brotherband leader who is taking a turn, along with his crew, at Fort Ragnak. Villi Whitebeard of the Wolfpaw is due to relieve them. Damien is the commander of the fifteen Araluen archers on garrison duty, including Willis and Simon.
The Kingdom of Araluen is…
…featured in Ranger’s Apprentice. They have a treaty with the Skandians.
I’m guessing Sonderland is another country?
The Temujai are…
…a warlike, nomadic race from beyond the mountains whose primary mission is conquest and domination — think Genghis Khan! Pa’tong is the Sha’shan, the ultimate leader of the Temujai. Lek’to is the Sha’shan‘s wife. En’tak was demoted from his position as an Ulan commander and now commands a 10-man patrol; Ka’zhak, his best friend, is the demoted deputy commander of that patrol. Ho’mat is one of Pa’tong’s generals. Ga’tan is a senior Ulan commander. Mori is the Great Horse Spirit they worship.
Sontod is the Skandian demigod of dance and movement. Zavac was the pirate who stole a valuable artifact in The Hunters, 3. A Vallasvow is a powerful oath.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a fiery scene from Return of the Temujai. A rearing horse in the middle of a grass fire, its warrior rider waving a sword, arrows flying, and soldiers battling behind him. The cloudy gray skies have an orange cast, forming a background for the white of two lines of info blurbs at the top with the series information large beneath it in a gothic font in pale orange and white with shadows. Immediately beneath this, and above the horse, is the title in a pale yellow outlined in black. The author’s name is at the very bottom in a gradient of orange to yellow and outlined in black.
The title reflects the Skandian fears of the Return of the Temujai.