The Icebound Land

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The Icebound Land
The Icebound Land.jpg
Second Australian edition cover of
The Icebound Land
Author John Flanagan
Country Australia
Language English
Series Ranger's Apprentice
(Book no. 3)
Genre Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher Random House (Australia)
Publication date
30 November 2005 (Aus)
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 307
ISBN 1-74166-021-1
OCLC 62866767
Preceded by The Burning Bridge
Followed by Oakleaf Bearers

The Icebound Land is the third book in the Ranger's Apprentice book series written by Australian author John Flanagan. The book was released on 30 November 2005 in Australia.


Will, the main character, is captured by the Skandians along with his friend, Evanlyn, in a big war in the previous book. The capturer, the Jarl Erak, takes them in as slaves.

Meanwhile, Will's mentor, Halt, has sworn to save him from the Skandians, but the Ranger Corps forces him to stay back. Halt, however, is so desperate, he insults the King of his country, Araluen. The King and Halt are good friends, so in Halt's trial, the King takes pity on Halt. Instead of the normal punishment, which is to ban the defendant from the Araluen borders forever, he banishes Halt from the borders only for one year. Halt is banished from the Ranger Corps until the punishment is lifted, but that is just a minor problem for Halt. He then sets out to find his apprentice once more. Halt is determined to get to Skandia quickly, so he takes the quickest route: Gallica. There he meets Will's old friend, Horace. Horace is Will's childhood friend, and just like Will, Horace is an orphan. In Gallica, Horace and Halt tried to go as fast as they could, but they were stopped by a lot of inexperienced knights. Horace, being a warrior apprentice, takes on the fake name "The Oakleaf Knight". Horace beats all of them with ease without his grizzled companion, Halt, to step in. Horace's reputation grows until he is noticed throughout Gallica, which attracts the horrible knight, Deparnieux of Castle Montsombre. Deparnieux soon captures Horace and Halt.

Meanwhile, when Jarl Erak, Will, and Evanlyn soon arrive in Skandia, Will and Evanlyn become slaves. Over the journey the Jarl had become quite attached to the two slaves and thinks they should be treated more respectfully than the normal slave should be treated. This goes for Evanlyn, which gets to work in the kitchen, but Will unfortunately gets the job of working the yard, the deadliest place for slaves to work. Will soon gets the attention from the older crowds, and one of them tricks him to get addicted to a deadly drug, warmweed.

Erak soon sees this and can't stand it. Will has been put into a daze, and doesn't remember anyone, including himself. He only responds to orders, which he does in an obedient manner. Erak and Evanlyn soon devise a plan to escape. Throughout Evanlyn and Will's journey to freedom, Evanlyn weans Will off the drug by slowly reducing the amount of warmweed given to Will. Evanlyn eventually arrives with Will at a mountain cabin, where they take shelter. While hunting with her sling, Evanlyn watches a rider dressed in furs on a horse. Will regains his old self as Evanlyn returns to the cabin. The book ends with Halt and Horace watching an 'accidental' fire in Castle Montsombre, which Halt predicts will destroy the tower in Montsombre.


Will – the protagonist of the series. He is a young apprentice ranger who is under Halt's guidance. 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 managed to successfully overcome a warmweed addiction. He was originally conscious of his small height and thin, wiry frame (because he wanted to be in Battleschool before becoming Halt's apprentice) but no longer cares 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. Halt is also an expert archer who killed Deparnieux in a duel and a talented marksman, warrior, and stealthy mover.

Horace – Horace was once Will's arch enemy; he always picked on Will because he wanted to be a Knight. Since 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. Horace also gains the honour and valor of a knight, and is appalled to see anyone's disrespect or lack of chivalry. Horace is also very talented with the sword, defeating many inexperienced knights along the way to Skandia.

Cassandra – Evanlyn meets Will in The Burning Bridge. Her real name is Cassandra, daughter of King Duncan, and is the crown princess of the Kingdom of Araluen but keeps her identity a secret due to the Wargals that were hunting for humans. She goes by the name Evanlyn throughout the book. Cassandra is adept at using the sling and has grown to care about Will.

Erak – Jarl Erak is the captain of a Skandian raiding ship that captures Will and Evanlyn in the previous book. Erak takes Will and Evanlyn to a slave camp in Skandia and sells them. He does feel respect for the two young people and insists them being kept together and safe, but Evanlyn is sent to the kitchen and Will is put in the most dangerous job, the yard. To stay alive, Will takes warmweed and gets a dangerous addiction. Erak feels sympathy for him and help Will and Evanlyn escape to the mountains.

Deparnieux – Deparnieux is a Gallican warlord who plunders and pillages villages in Gallica. He serves as a main antagonist. He is able to torture people all he likes due to the fact that the Gallican king is too weak to do anything. Deparnieux is the "lord" of Castle Montsombre and many other lands. He owns a huge castle in the Gallican country side and he hangs cages up on it with people in them who have displeased him. When they die he doesn't bother to take them down. He uses it as a sign to put people and other warlords off. He also favours the colour black as a sign of his evil. When he hears that Halt and Horace are travelling through Gallica he challenges Horace to a duel but Halt stops it before anything happens. Later on he takes them hostage and he shows them how he punishes his people. Halt however is able to defeat and kill Deparnieux in a duel. Halt then passes ownership of the castle to Philemon, captain of Deparnieux's soldiers.

Philemon – Philemon is captain of Deparnieux's soldiers. He is described as having a stocky build and wearing half armour. Halt passes ownership of Castle Montsombre to Philemon after Halt kills Deparnieux in a duel. Philemon, however, likes things going his way, which is shown when he expresses annoyance after Halt says that he will not bind any of Deparnieux's prisoners or servants to him after Philemon gets ownership of Castle Montsombre.

Critical reception[edit]

The Icebound Land was well received by reviewers. One review praised the fact that although Will is talented, he is not afraid to ask others for help when needed.[1] The same reviewer also praised how, "the action is well paced and the writing style is engaging." On another review for the audiobook version, the vivid imagery was noted on how it provides great detail for the battle scenes.[2] The review also praised the speaker John Keating, makes the production entertaining, and the cliffhanging conclusion is sure to have fantasy fans hoping for another instalment.


  1. ^ "Icebound Land Review". School Library Journal. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Icebound Land Review2". School Library Journal. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 

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