One of the very popular books series out there is called Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan. It, unlike most of the junk out there, isn't popular for shock value, but rather for sparkling, witty humor and awesome characters with solid morals.
Erak's Ransom is the seventh book in the series. It follows most of the characters on a journey to free a friend, a Skandian ship's captain called Erak, who has been captured and held for ransom in the desert. On the journey to free him, Will, the main character, will be tested to the utmost before he can graduate from a Ranger's Apprentice to a fully-fledged Ranger.
Need I say that I loved this book?
Witty humor and epic fighting aside, this book was spectacular. Halt, the senior ranger, was in his element the whole time. John Flanagan also brought back Gilan, Halt's former apprentice and one of my favorite characters. If I had to pick one thing I didn't like about Erak's Ransom, it would have to be that Princess Cassandra was a little too pushy, but in the circumstances she was in, it was often necessary. All the characters were strong-willed and forebearing. The settings were beautifully described. As mentioned earlier, the story didn't find its greatness on shock value, which is so refreshing these days. Five stars!