Heard: Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan, 2008, overdrive.com download.
Eight book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. For the uninformed, the series setting is comparable to Robin Hood but with a stable monarchy, distinct regional government districts, and nothing is English - there are pretend names for places.
Will is now a Ranger after a few years serving as an apprentice under Halt. Rangers are like a national police force and assigned to certain districts within the country. There is one Ranger per district and a handful of apprentices across the country.
Halt has been investigating a band of religious con men who come into a rural town and say only our 'good god' can save you from 'bad god'. Meanwhile, the con men's killers will go around slaughtering farmers in the name of 'bad god'. Con men say, "Hey, we need a golden altar to pray to 'good god'. Give us your gold to build the altar and we will defeat 'bad god'."
Halt finds out the con men have been coming over from Hibernia (Ireland) and Halt, Will and a knight named Horace travel to stop the problem at the source. They travel to Hibernia and the Kingdom of Clonmel. Difficulties ensue. The con men murder whole families - children included - to sow fear among the people. We learn that Halt is the son of Clonmel's dead king and left Hibernia when Halt's nutty brother tried to kill Halt to gain the throne. Halt and Co. jhave to be circumspect - foreigners cannot waltz in and start ordering everyone around. The Main Con Man is very charismatic and has a silver tongue.
Deadly archery. Smart horses, Outdoor camping. Beheadings. Duels to the death. Treachery. Assassins. Fun, escapist lit aimed at young adults.
1. Lots of violence but chaste love.