Brotherband: Slaves of Socorro, by John Flanagan

Edvin was on the bowpost lookout. ‘Ship!’ he called, pointing to the south-west.
At first, Hal saw nothing. But as Heron rose onto the crest of a wave, he saw a dark shape, low in the water. Stefan, who had the keenest eyesight, had leapt up onto the starboard rail, steadying himself on one of the thick stays.
‘She’s dismasted!’ he called. ‘She’s in trouble!’

Hal and his friends of the Heron brotherband are bored, so when they are offered the chance to be the Skandian duty ship to the Kingdom of Araluen, they are excited. With Hal’s new dog – Kloof – joining the crew, they set sail for their new post. But even before they arrive, their duties begin. A stricken boat has been attacked by a rogue ship, and its crew is one they know only to well. Soon they are on the trail of their old foe Tursgud, along the way needing to mount a rescue mission for twelve Araluens who he has taken to be sold as slaves.

Slaves of Socorro is the fourth in Flanagan’s Brotherband series, set within the same world as as the successful Ranger’s Apprentice books. Fans of the latter series will be delighted to see Ranger Gill appear in Slaves of Socorro, travelling with the Herons to free the slaves.

As always, there is plenty happening here – action and suspense, along with humour and plenty of luck. Hal’s dog, who attaches itself to him early in the book, is an entertaining addition to the crew and readers with an interest in boats and sailing will find the detail of the boat and its journey fascinating, though it doesn’t overwhelm the story.

Good stuff for young adult readers, and competent primary aged readers too.


Slaves of Socorro (Brotherband)

Slaves of Socorro, by John Flanagan
Random House, 2014
ISBN 9781742759340

Available from good bookstores or online.

Brotherband: The Invaders, by John Flanagan

The Raven was at sea.
South of Shelter Bay, the weather had cleared several days earlier and Zavac had put to sea immediately. The Raven ws a bigger ship than the Heron, with a much larger crew to handle her, and to bail her out if necessary. So Zavac had no fears about her ability to handle the waves.
And Zavac’s hunting instincts were aroused.

Hal and his brotherband are determined to restore their name by tracking down Zavac and his spoils. First, they have to wait out the weather, which keeps them shore bound in a sheltered cove. then they have to locate the pirates aboard the mighty Raven. When they do figure out where their quarry is, the Herons have a huge challenge in front of them. The pirates are in a heavily fortified town, which they have taken over. Hal and his friends must liberate the town and defeat the pirates. But doing so will not be easy. Hal will need a foolproof plan, and lots of help from allies old and new.

The Invaders is a the second in the Brotherband series, and continues the adventures of Hal and his brotherband, and their ship, the Heron. It will be best enjoyed by those who have read the first, though would stand alone, with plenty of action and character development. There are also several threads which will keep the reader eager for the next installment, including a new female character who offers an opportunity for romance but also, importantly, seems a strong character in her own right.

Good stuff.
The Invaders (Brotherband)

The Invaders (Brotherband), by John Flanaagn
Random House, 2012
ISBN 9781741664508

This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.