This Ranger's Apprentice novel was set before the previous two, when Will hadn't yet reached full Ranger status. The pace of the book seemed quite slow, but eventually it picked up and Will got to be the hero.
While I enjoyed the way the book ended, I had hoped for it to be good all the way through, so overall it was a disappointing read.
In the wake of Araluen's uneasy truce with the raiding Skandians comes word that the Skandian leader has been captured by a dangerous desert tribe. The Rangers - and Will - are sent to free him. But the desert is like nothing these warriors have seen before. Strangers in a strange land, they are brutalized by sandstorms, beaten by the unrelenting heat, tricked by one tribe that plays by its own rules, and surprisingly befriended by another. Like a desert mirage, nothing is as it seems. Yet one thing is constant: the bravery of the Rangers.