Title: The Outcasts
Author: John Flanagan
Series: Brotherband Chronicles
Recommended for: 5th grade and up
Call Number/Link: TEEN FICTION FLANAGAN
Synopsis: Like the Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series this book’s main character is a young teen boy who is somewhat of an outcast. It’s only when he starts Skandian brotherband training (a sort of Viking boot camp competition for boys) that others start to recognize his abilities. His brotherband group wins the training competition but ends up being responsible for the loss of Skandia’s greatest treasure. They escape on their ship (along with and old one-armed sailor) determined to regain their honor by chasing down the pirates that stole the treasure.
Lots of fast paced action make this a great read for adventure loving older elementary and middle school readers. Flanagan includes quite a lot of sailing terms and a dictionary of those terms in the beginning, but you can still easily follow the story without them. (It’s nothing like the descriptions of whaling in Moby Dick.) This is a companion series so you do not have to read the Ranger’s Apprentice books to enjoy Brotherband Chronicles. There is some swordfighting and violence. (These are viking types after all.) But it’s all PG rated without any gory details. Flanagan started writing his Ranger stories as a way to get his 12 year old son to read and they really do appeal to middle school boys.