|Publisher:||Random House (Australia)|
Philomel (United States)
|Media Type:||Hardcover (Australia)|
Hardcover, Paperback (United States)
440 (United States)
|Preceded by:||The Kings of Clonmel|
|Followed by:||The Emperor of Nihon-Ja|
Will, you will survive this battle, but others may not be so lucky.
You are on the trail of an evil gang - the Outsiders, who have escaped justice for their crimes.
Halt is determined to stop them but they are sneaky, cunning and dangerous.
When the battle begins, will your extraordinary archery skills be enough to save you all,
Or will this be your mentor's final battle?
The book takes place almost immediately after The Kings of Clonmel.
The story begins in a place called Port Cael in Hibernia where [Will is tracking down a smuggler called Black O'Malley who ferried Tennyson and his Outsiders out of Picta. Will and the Black O'Malley sit down to talk but it doesn't go as planned and Will has to get out of the inn as the tension rises.
Later on Halt and Horace arrive and see Will sitting morosely by the roadside. Halt hears the story from Will about how he failed in getting information from the smuggler then the grizzled Ranger says that he will go and have a chat to him. Will is pleased with this, having great faith in his former mentor. After that the three go to the inn where the Black O'Malley is and Halt gets the information out of the smuggler leaving Horace to deal with the man's henchmen which the young knight does easily.
Halt, Horace and Will follow Tennyson's trail to Picta. They're determined to stop the Outsider prophet and his remaining followers before the outlaws make their way across the border into Araluen. Will has defeated one of Tennyson's Genovesan Assassins in Clonmel -- but there are two left alive doing Tennyson's bidding.
Halt and Will start to track their foes into a forest where they plan to kill both the Genovesans, but when Halt is relying on Will to kill one of them and he kills the other, they make the mistake of shooting at the same one. While one is killed, the other sends a crossbow bolt, at Halt. The cut on Halt's arm where the bolt scratched him is superficial and at first none of the party suspect that anything could be wrong.
To Save a Ranger...Edit
Halt soon becomes delirious and falls off Abelard, dropping to the ground unconscious; Horace and Will realize that there is something wrong and can't intially understand why. Will then remembers that Halt's arm seemed to be giving him some discomfort. He unwraps the bandage around the Ranger's arm and the two see that it has become swollen and discoloured, giving off a foul odor. Will then cleans the arm and places some salve into the gash in an effort to help heal it. Halt later wakes up and explains to his apprentice that he has been poisoned and may die, at first Will is incredibly upset as he doesn't think there is any way his mentor can be healed but then he remembers Malcolm, the healer from the Fief in Norgate.
Will rides off on Tug, Abelard, and Kicker to fetch him, as he may be Halt's only hope, leaving Horace to look after Halt.
Will's journey takes him through burial mounds called Barrows, they are believed to be haunted and in the book they are hinted to be so as Will is startled awake after feeling a strange pressence. Once in Grimsdell Forest by Macindaw Will becomes lost. He manages to find his way to a lake located in the forest near to Healer's Clearing and he then calls for Shadow, a dog he used to own.
Later, Malcolm and Will return and Horace tells them that Baccari, the Genovesan assassin who shot Halt has been watching him for several days, Will spots him and notes, yet again, how bad the Genovesan's are in the country surroundings when it comes to stealth. Malcolm, meanwhile is checking over Halt and tells the two young men that the posion came from either a blue anacondia flower, or a white one. They both are easy to make. The problem is, they don't know which flower they took the posion from. The healer also adds that if Halt is given the wrong solution, he will die.
Will then goes off and tries to decide what to do and he eventually comes up with a plan.
The three hold a pretend funeral, fooling the Genovesan into believing Halt is dead. The trio then quickly mount their horses and ride off into the cover of nearby woods with Halt who is still unconscious and close to dying. The Genovesan passes close by the groups hiding place and Will rides off in pursuit of him.
Meanwhile, Halt's condition is becoming worst and in a last-ditch attempt to keep him alive Malcolm gives him a solution which slows down his breathing and heart-rate to give him more time whilst Will chases down Baccari.
Will follows the Genovesan assassin for a while, slowly closing the distance between them. He has to get close as he cannot shoot at the horse in case he accidentally shoots Baccari which would spell the end for Halt. After a few tense minutes and a brief struggle Will captuers the Genovesan, knocking him unconscious but looses his strikers in the process and also kills the horse the assassin was riding.
Once back at the camp, Baccari refuses to tell what poison he used to injure Halt which sends Will into a fury. He comes close to killing the Genovesan but is stopped by Horace who has an idea. The young knight poisons the assassin with his own poison leaving the man with no choice but to tell his captors what the antidote is. Malcolm gives Halt the antidote and leaves him to sleep.
Later, Baccari tries to escape, almost killing Horace in the process before being killed by Will in a knife fight, who is woken after Halt wakes up and sees Horace and Baccari fighting a few meters away from the fire.
The Final FightEdit
A few days later Halt is up on his feet and active again but is pushing himself too hard and after a few words from Wills slows down his pace, particulary after Will mentions Lady Pauline.
The four friends go and find Tennyson and attempt to discredit him and his false god. They discover he is holding meetings in a large cavern located in sandstone cliffs, he has managed to get a nearby village of Araluans to believe in his god and made them hand over their gold.
Halt disguises himself as his brother again, intending to fool Tennyson and have him discredited before the villagers, this works.
Halt tells all the people who belived in the false god that it was indeed false and Tennyson planned to take all of their precious belongings they offered. He then orders the Araluans to leave and then a fight breaks out between Tennyson's henchmen, Horace, Malcolm and the two rangers. Malcolm uses explosives to hold off the henchmen but realises that they are causing the cave to give way and stops using them. Will sees that Tennyson is escaping and tries to shoot him, but in the uncertain light he is unable to aim properly and misses. In a last-ditch attempt to stop him Will throws the box of explosives that Malcolm has after Tennyson. This causes part of the cavern to collapses immediatly and kills Tennyson then causes the rest of the cave to start falling down around their ears. The four quickly head for the exit and make it out of the cave just in time.
- Baron Arald
- Lady Pauline
The various international covers of Halt's Peril.