In fact, “The Ranger’s Apprentice” book series not only features archery, but offers practical advice for new archers. These books were written by New York Times best-seller John Flanagan. The series consists of 14 books written for 10-year-olds and up, and they’re set in a medieval fantasy universe where bows are the weapon of choice.
“The Ranger’s Apprentice” tells the story of Will, an orphan with few options. He applies to be a knight’s apprentice, but he gets rejected because he’s too small. He then gets recruited by Halt, the kingdom’s most famous ranger, to be a ranger’s apprentice. Will’s small stature isn’t an issue for bow-wielding rangers, who rely on cunning and their recurve bows and longbows to protect the kingdom.
Will uses a recurve bow for his ranger training. Halt and other rangers, however, use longbows with heavy draw weights of 80 to 100 pounds, like those used by medieval longbow archers. The book’s “bad guys” use crossbows, which are easier to use and require less training.
Flanagan is an archer, and his experience shows in the books. “The Ranger’s Apprentice” offers lots of practical advice for aspiring archers. Halt teaches Will archery much like archery coaches teach their students. Will learns safety, shooting form and the essence of archery.
During one of Will’s first training sessions he shoots a bull’s-eye, and thinks he has mastered archery. Halt, however, reminds him what archery is all about: “An ordinary archer practices until he gets it right,” Halt said. “A ranger practices until he never gets it wrong.” Archery requires repetitive perfection, which Will eventually learns.
The book series stresses perseverance and self-reliance. Apprentices often find themselves in situations without proper equipment and must overcome the challenge. They conquer their obstacles by improvising, which provides excellent teaching moments. Flanagan’s writing explains why archery is difficult to master, and details the hard work that proficiency requires. He describes Will’s progression with archery, which mirrors what many archers experience as they start shooting.
To learn more about these books, visit “The Ranger’s Apprentice” website. If “The Ranger’s Apprentice” inspires you to pick up a bow, you’ll need instructions like those Halt gave Will when teaching him how to shoot. An archery coach can help you on your journey. To find a nearby coach, use our coach-finder tool here.