Flanagan, John. Halt's Peril.
Nominated for the Cybils by Elliot.
Had to skip The Kings of Clonmel because I am a nice librarian and let the students have it first, so I missed a little bit having to do with the evil Tennyson, who apparently killed Halt's cousin, King Ferris, and is terrorizing the local population and making them turn over their valuables to him. Will spends quite a bit of time looking for this character, practicing his menacing looks and grabbing-people-by-the-collar, and then there's a lot of Tolkien-esque tramping about in the woods until Halt gets wounded by an enemy arrow tainted by poison, so Horace and Will have to hunt down Malcolm to get an antidote. More tramping in the woods. They finally locate Bacari, the Genovesan who shot Halt, get the antidote, cure Halt, and finally dispatch Tennyson...or do they? I'm betting that he will be back in the tenth and final book The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, which is due out on April 19, 2011.
Strengths: This is still a page turner-- something about Flanagan's style keeps each chapter on an upswing and makes me want to know more. The characters continue to develop, and their loyalty and friendship is enjoyable.
Weaknesses: Not much happened. I love this series, but this felt a bit like a filler. Maybe it was setting up a lot of things for the last book (like Artemis Fowl last night), but I missed the battle strategy and the shades of gray of right and wrong that was so clearly evident in previous books.