||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary and it should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (June 2012)|
Second Australian edition cover of
(Book no. 4)
|Publisher||Random House (Australia)|
|Publication date||1 May 2006 (Aus)
18 March 2008 (USA)
5 June 2008 (UK)
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||327 (Australian edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 1-74166-082-3 (1st Australian edition);
ISBN 978-1-86471-907-9 (2nd Australian edition)
|Preceded by||The Icebound Land|
|Followed by||The Sorcerer in the North|
Oakleaf Bearers is the fourth novel in the Ranger's Apprentice book series, which was written by Australian author John Flanagan. In the United States the book is known as the The Battle for Skandia but contains the same content.
The book continues to track Will and includes such characters as Halt, his mentor, and Horace, his best friend.
Flanagan wrote the first book of the series to encourage his son to read. His son is now in his mid twenties and is an enthusiastic reader of his father's novels.
The book continues from where the previous book left off.
In The Icebound Land, Evanlyn and Will have been captured and sold as slaves. As the time went on, Halt and Horace travelled across Gallica, defeating false knights, and ridding Gallica of the evil warlord Deparnieux. They are now in Gallica ready to board a ship and save Will. Meanwhile, Will has overcome his addiction to warmweed and finally regains his senses. Evanlyn, revealed to be Princess Cassandra, is out checking traps for food when she is taken hostage by the Temujai.
Halt and Horace, still on their rescue mission, find a gate of which a dozen Skandians lay dead, shot. Halt manages to recognise an arrow, shot by the Temujai and becomes instantly worried. Two decades ago, the Temujai had nearly conquered the world, but with politics and a dish of bad clams, the invasion was stopped. Halt and Horace, after managing to track the Temujai down, came to Will's aid and they try to get Evanlyn back.
Halt and the group, after being reunited, were then captured by Erak, the Skandian Jarl who had set Evanlyn and Will free. Erak had been trying to track down the people who shot the Skandians at the other gate, and hastily came to a conclusion that Halt was the one who did it. Halt gave a list of reasons, which convinced the senior Jarl to listen to him. The Skandians have no chance, as they are greatly outnumbered and the Temujai have long-range archers, versus the Skandians one-on-one close combat.
Halt, Evanlyn, Will, and Horace are now forced to stay in Skandia because the Temujai have blocked their only exit to their homeland. Erak came to a decision into trying to get Ragnak, the Oberjarl, to let Halt become their strategist as he had lived and fought with and against the Temujai before, thus knowing their battle plans and style of fighting. Halt and Erak also manage to find the main army of the Temujai, followed with a very narrow escape because of Erak's clumsiness.
Halt and Will also manage to convince the Oberjarl into getting the slaves to become archers with their reward being freedom, of which Ragnak had to very reluctantly accept. 20 Skandians were also supposed to use hit-and-run tactics to delay the Temujai from reaching Hallasholm. The Temujai were not expecting this kind of strategic action from the blunt Skandians.
Further on in the story, the Temujai begins their first attack and, as Halt had said, made a fake retreat of which the Skandians purposely followed their "ambush". Halt, however, had placed a group of Skandians to ambush the Temujai. This made them driven back and the General of the army, along with the Colonel, were very surprised because the Skandians were not behaving anything at all from what they've heard.
In the battle, Will manages to keep his archers concealed for a while, but soon, they are spotted. Will kept his archers firing their arrows, but they were defeated. Meanwhile, the Skandians, made an impact on the opposing army, and the General had to retreat back to his homeland because he lost too many warriors. The Skandians had won.
Erak takes the group back to their home. After a long happy union, Will and Evanlyn then find out that Halt has been banished; Erak saves the awkward moment by trying to include it in their treaty to pardon him, of which King Duncan agrees. In the end, Halt was rewarded with his reunion back with the Rangers, Horace with his knighthood and position as the Royal Guards, and Will was offered to become one of the Royal Scouts, a high position of the King's army that trains archers and that only nobles could probably have; this would give him fame and reputation, but Will, in his heart, turns the offer down. Will wants to continue his training to became a full-fledged Ranger. Evanlyn, near the end as well, is sad because her friendship with Will is breaking up and Alyss is a little glad about that in later books.
Will – the protagonist of the series. He is a young man who is studying with Halt, a legendary ranger. He has learned much over the years and is very accomplished in all facets of the ranger skills. He has been part of numerous wars and conflicts. He recently escaped from Skandia and successfully managed to overcome a warmweed addiction. He was originally conscious of his small height and thin, wiry frame (because he wanted to be a knight before becoming Halt's apprentice) but has come to be proud of them as they suit his Ranger profession.
Halt – Will's teacher and mentor. He has done many things for the Kingdom over his years of service and is regarded as one of the best Rangers of the time. He appears grim and silent, embodying the Ranger stereotype that appears throughout the book, but he does have a caring side. He was banished in the third book. Halt is also a Senior Ranger of the Ranger Corps. He is the best friend of Crowley, Commandant of the Ranger corps. It is also rumoured that he had a crush on Lady Pauline, the head of the Diplomatic Core at the Redmont Fief. He has had two apprentices to date: Will and Gilan.
Horace – a one time enemy of Will, picking on him incessantly for his dream of being a Knight. As he went to battle school he has learned many things and has become a close friend of Will's, accompanying him on some missions and attempting to save him when he and the King's daughter, Cassandra (Evanlyn), were taken captive by the Skandians. Legendary for killing Morgarath, Lord of Rain and Night.
Evanlyn: – Evanlyn, or Princess Cassandra, is one of Will's best friends. She and Will were captured together by the Skandians in the second book, The Burning Bridge. They escape together and help each other survive.
Jarl Erak- the Jarl in Skandia who brought Evanlyn and Will to Skandia, but also was the one who freed them. He played a major role in helping the Araluens. He also becomes Oberjarl after Oberjarl Ragnak.
Oberjarl Ragnak- Oberjarl Ragnak is the supreme ruler of Skandia and originally one of the main Antagonists. In book two(The Burning Bridge), Ragnak's son is killed by Araluen archers. Consequently, Ragnak made a Vallosvow, which was a vow to kill King Duncan and all of his family members, which put Evanlyn in jeopardy. In the end, Ragnak saves Will, Horace, and even Evanlyn's lives by massacring a Temujai force. He dies from battle wounds, and Erak is given the role of the new Oberjarl.
General Haz'kam- General Haz'kam is the Temujai Invasion's main General and the main Antagonist. Like most Temujai leaders, he doesn't care about the life of his men and will do anything to win a battle. This includes even sending out high-ranked officers on the front lines of his Ulans, including General Nit'zak. in the end, he signals retreat and the Temujai are defeated.
General Nit'zak- General Nit'zak is General Haz'kam's second in command and his most trusted advisor. He is an antagonist, but he is a better General than Haz'kam, who cares about his men and doesn't want to risk their lives. In the end, Nit'zak is sent by Haz'kam to bring 3 Ulans and kill Will, Horace, Evanlyn and the other Archers and Skandians. He begins to succeed, but then Oberjarl Ragnak comes in and kills a majority of his troops, after Will throws his saxe knife and kills Nit'zak. His death and failure causes General Haz'kam to signal retreat.
- Oakleaf Bearers at Random House Australia
- The Battle for Skandia at Penguin Group (USA)
- Oakleaf Bearers at Random House UK
- Oakleaf Bearers at Random House NZ