Erak's Ransom by John Flanagan
I didn't realize that I hadn't posted on this book. It's book 7 in the Ranger's Apprentice series, but chronologically it should go between 4 and 5. The author wrote 5 and 6 and then realized there were issues he hadn't dealt with and so went back in time so to speak.
In book 7, Will is still an apprentice and follows Halt to yet another new land to ransom Erak, the oberjarl of the Skandians. The issues the author is trying to deal with are the feelings that Will has that he's not ready to become a full ranger, to be on his own without Halt there to help him.
The fighting in this book is more graphic than in previous books. I almost did not want to give it to my son. Then I thought, he's seen stuff like this in movies.
Recommended: yes. Matthew has read it and we've already passed it on to a friend to borrow or I could tell you more. It almost seems that since we've gone back in time, there were fewer words to white out in this book.