Type Book
Date 2004-11-01
Pages 249
Tags fantasy

The Ruins of Gorlan

Will, a ward of castle Redmont, has always wanted to be a knight. But, he is rejected. Halt, the Ranger, accepts Will as his apprentice, and they train together. After some months of training, the two head for a gathering of the 50 Rangers of the kingdom, but the gathering is cut short, as rumors of war on the horizon have made themselves known. In the climax, Will brings aid to rescue Halt from certain doom. Of course, the war is yet to come, leaving room for sequels.

This book feels rather derivative. Of note, when discussing boar hunting, Halt describes a boar spear:

The boar spear is more than two meters long, with a double-sided blade and a crosspiece set behind the blade. The idea is to make the board charge at the spearman. Then he sets the butt of the spear in the ground and lets the boar run onto it. The crosspiece stops the boar running right down the shaft and getting the spearman.

This sounded familiar, I thought. Not only did it sound familiar, I was pretty sure I knew where I'd heard it before--in The Once and Future King. For comparison, in T. H. White's book, boar hunting is described thus:

There was only one rule in boar-hunting. It was: Hold on. If the boar charged, you had to drop on one knee and present your boar-spear in his direction. You held the butt of it with your right hand on the ground to take the shock, while you stretched your left arm to its fullest extent and kept the point toward the charging boar. The spear was as sharp as a razor, and it had a cross-piece about eighteen inches away from the point. This cross-piece or horizontal bar prevented the spear from going more than eighteen inches into his chest. Without the cross-piece, a charging boar would have been capable of rushing right up the spear, even if it did go through him, and getting at the hunter like that. But with the cross-piece he was held away from you at a spear’s length, with eighteen inches of steel inside him. It was in this situation that you had to hold on.

The Once and Future King (1958)

Well, if you'd asked me to describe boar hunting, I'd probably have said something very similar to this, too, but that's because the entirety of my knowledge of boar hunting comes from this segment of The Once and Future King. Flanagan hasn't exactly copied it, but I'd be highly surprised if he came up with that totally independently.

Name Role
John Flanagan Author