Ranger's Apprentice: Book One: The Ruins of Gorlan
The Ruins of Gorlan is the first book in the series, Ranger's Apprentice, written by John Flanagan telling the story of an apprentice ranger, Will. He has grown up as a ward of Baron Arald. Like the other children raised as wards, he is an orphan, his father killed in service to the kingdom.
As he became old enough to become an apprentice, Will had his heart set on Battleschool, to become a knight as he believed his father had been. But Will is small for his age. His innate skills - the ability to be silent, to move undetected, to climb - make him a natural to become a Ranger. Rangers serve the kingdom as intelligence gatherers and a sort of special forces unit rolled into one.
After Choosing Day, Will and the others settle into their various apprenticships. Unknown to them an evil is about to be unleashed upon the land that will test them all. This first book tells of Horace (who was accepted into battleschool) and Will - and how they grow into their friendship, while being tested and harrassed while developing the skills they will need to take their place in the kingdom.
There is quite a bit of action. The ending comes too soon for those who enjoy this type of story. I can't wait for the next installment, as the war against the evil Morgarath, former Baron of Gorlan, now enemy number one, develops.