| Spoiler Alert!
Warning! This page contains spoilers for Halt's Peril.
|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 and Halt 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 Will's extraordinary archery skills be enough to save them all, or will this be Will's 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 into 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 to get information from the smuggler; then the grizzled Ranger says that he will go and have a chat with him. Will is pleased, 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 with ease).
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 Genovese assassins in Clonal—but there are still two left alive carrying out 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 scratches him is superficial and at first none of the party suspect that anything could be wrong.
To Save a RangerEdit
Halt soon becomes delirious, however, and falls off Abelard, dropping to the ground unconscious; Horace and Will realize that something is wrong but don't initially 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 presence. 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 upon arriving at healers clearing, Will finds out that shadow has had puppy's. Trobar gives Ebony, one of shadows puppy's, to Will as when he had left Shadow in the care of Trobar, he had said if Shadow was ever to have puppy's he wanted the pick of the litter.
Later, Malcolm and Will return and Horace tells them that Bacari, the Genovesan assassin who shot Halt has been watching him for several days, Will spots him and notes, yet again, how bad the Genovesans are in the countryside when it comes to stealth. Malcolm meanwhile is checking over Halt and tells the two young men that the poison came from either a blue aracoina flower, or a white one. They both are easy to make. The problem is, they don't know which flower they took the poison 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 worsens and in a desperate attempt to keep him alive Malcolm gives him a solution which slow down his breathing and heart rate to give him more time while Will chases down Bacari.
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 Bacari which would spell the end for Halt. After a few tense minutes and a brief struggle Will captures the Genovesan, knocking him unconscious but loses his strikers in the process and also kills the horse the assassin was riding.
Once back at the camp, Bacari 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, Bacari 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 Bacari fighting a few meters away from the steamy hot, hot 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 Will slows down his pace, particularly 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 believed 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 realizes 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 collapse immediately and kills Tennyson then causes the rest of the cave to start falling down around them. 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.