Der Falke Des Lichts
Gillian Bradshaw
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Der Falke Des Lichts (Down the Long Wind #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,245 ratings  ·  64 reviews
The Sword: In other ages and battles the ruby-hilted slayer of men had many different names. Now called Caledvwlch, the blade awaits the hero who can draw it from its scabbard and live..The Stallion: Blinding white, larger and swifter than any earthly steed, Ceincaled can only be mastered by one who has journeyed to the isle of the immortals..And The Warrior: He is Gwalchm...more
Published (first published May 1st 1980)
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So when I was growing up, and madly in love with all things King Arthur, my opinion about Who Was My Favorite Knight changed on a fairly regular basis, based mainly on whatever book I was reading at the moment (and/or what part of Monty Python and the Holy Grail I was most obsessed with). So I read The Squire’s Tale and I was like OMG GAWAIN FOREVER! And then I read The Forever King and I was like OMG GALAHAD FOREVER! And then I read The Mists of Avalon and I was like FORGET YOU KNIGHTS GIRLS RU...more
Dan Schwent
Gwalchmai ap Lot, the middle child of Morgawys and Lot, learns sorcery from his mother to make up for his short comings as a warrior. However, his mother's sorcery is seething with Darkness and Gwalchmai flees the Orcades, set on joining Arthur's warband. Before making it to Britain, he stays in Lugh's domain for what ends up being three years, acquiring the sword Caledvwlch and horse Ceincaled. Will Arthur accept him, knowing who his mother is?

I've read a fair bit of Arthurian fantasy over the...more
Feb 22, 2008 Azar rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Arthurian legend and/or Celtic mythology
An Arthurian fantasy from the point of view of Gwalchmei (later named Gawain), this book caught my eye in a used bookstore because it is one of the few recent books I've seen to draw almost entirely upon the earliest Welsh versions of the legend, although some elements from later stories are incorporated for familiarity's sake by the author's own admission. Nevertheless, what that means is that many familiar faces are missing--there is no Lancelot, and so far at least no Merlin--and certain trad...more
Sue Smith
King Arthur's rise to power - it's what makes England what it is in so many ways. The overcoming of darkness and petty feuding between rivaling 'mini' kings to be united, together, under one man - one king - and the light.

This is a lightly veiled intro into Christianity actually. I don't really remember seeing Arthur's story that way, but it is. And - truth be told - this book isn't about Arthur per se. It's about another character - Sir Gawain - and the complicated story of how he came to be th...more
I really disliked this book. I love both historical fiction and fantasy, and have really enjoyed other Arthurian books, so why did this one rub me the wrong way?

I think it was because, in an effort to create the "warrior of light," this author took a path I thought we had long abandoned, of old ways and old gods being a darkness needing eradication. Students of history know, of course, that this is what happened- that pagans were considered witches and heretics and even as recently as the 19th c...more
Hawk of May started rather slowly, and I found myself reading only a little each day, but once I got to about the middle of it, it was much more absorbing. It's an interesting take on the legend, set while Arthur is still establishing a kingdom, with more ties than is usual to the older Celtic myths and legends, including CuChulainn. So far there's been no sign of the now traditional Lancelot, Guinevere and Arthur love triangle, or Lancelot the super perfect knight. Gwalchmai is Gawain, basicall...more
Star (The Bibliophilic Book Blog)
Gwalchmai (which means Hawk of May) is the second son of Morgawse and Lot of the Orcades. He just wanted to fit in - but he couldn't be a warrior to make his father proud, so he turned to his mother's sorcery. However, the magic his mother wields is like nothing he imagined and he remains unable to protect that which he holds most dear. Until something changes one night and he heads off to find Arthur - his uncle and High King.

This is a very different take on Gwalchmai's story. I've read a lot o...more
Bryce Lowry
For me, this book is a dream come true. Finally, someone with a penchant for history as an author of an Arthurian tale! Gillian Bradshaw sets this book about Gawain in 6th Century Britain, shortly after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire from the islands. Some of the characters in this series were even real kings of the kingdoms that existed in that region and era. She draws from the rich and diverse cultures of the lands in ancient Britain, and uses older versions of the names we hear in Arthur...more
This is a very good retelling if you're interested in the story of Gawain (or Gwalchmai).

I accidentally bought the third one of this series first, not knowing that it was a trilogy, but in the end I still managed to find the first and the second book.
I've read "Hawk of May" a while ago, so I don't remember all the details, however, I still know the plot.

"Hawk of May" is told by Gwalchmai's, the son of Morgawse and Lot, point of view. Since I'm a huge fan of the Arthurian Legend and Gawain I w...more
Fantasy Literature
I thought I was tired of Arthurian Legend and I’ve avoided reading one for quite a while now, but Gillian Bradshaw’s beautifully written story about Sir Gawain has changed my mind. Hawk of May takes place early in Arthur’s career and is inspired by the Welsh legends of King Arthur, the Sidhe, and Cú Chulainn. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Bradshaw’s DOWN THE LONG WAY trilogy.

In Hawk of May, we meet Gwalchmai, son of the Morgawse, the beautiful sorceress who hates her father Uther Pe...more
I thought this was an interesting take on Arthurian legend. It was the first Arthurian book I've read with a strong Arthur character that thinks for himself instead of being told what to do by advisers. I got bogged down with all of the strategy details, but I loved the imagery Bradshaw used. As this was her first book, and she wrote it at a young age, I expect the rest of the series will be better.
Molly Murphy
After To Kill a Mockingbird, this is my favorite book in the world. I'm a big King Arthur fan, but most of all I'm a total Sir Gawain fan. I love Gwalchmai, especially 'cause I love anything to do with my Gaelic roots. I usually don't read during the day, but this book was so good I never wanted to stop. Gwalchmei is a great character and so is his brother Agravain. The fantasy was totally cool and I was shocked about Medraut (Mordred, I believe) because that was the first time I heard the story...more
Kat  Hooper

Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

I thought I was tired of Arthurian Legend and I’ve avoided reading one for quite a while now, but Gillian Bradshaw’s beautifully written story about Sir Gawain has changed my mind. Hawk of May takes place early in Arthur’s career and is inspired by the Welsh legends of King Arthur, the Sidhe, and Cú Chulainn. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Bradshaw’s DOWN THE LONG WAY trilogy.

In Hawk of May, we meet Gwalchmai, son of the Morgawse, the beauti...more
Not the book for me. Too many battle scenes and too many allusions to religion.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I can always depend upon Bradshaw for a good story grounded in history with appealing characters. If I'm not rating this higher... Well, when it comes to Arthurian works, she has really tough competition--even if you leave aside acknowledged classics of literature by Mallory and Tennyson. There are two basic approaches, the historical and pure, often anachronistic fantasy, with works often distinguishing themselves by how they mix the two. I have two favorites in the subgenre. Mary Stuart in her...more
Hawk of May is the first of an Arthurian Trilogy by Gillian Bradshaw. It tells the tale of Gwalchmai, also known as “Hawk of May” or Sir Gawain in Arthurian Legend. Gwalchmai is the middle child of King Lot and Morgawse (in this version of the tale, Morgawse is the daughter of Uther). While Gwalchmai’s older brother Agravain is a brilliant warrior, Gwalchmai finds himself lacking. In order to find something that he excels at, he starts to learn Latin and sorcery from his mother Morgawse.

One nig...more
If you like tales of King Arthur then you will most likely enjoy this one. It smatters of courage, darkness, magic, cruelty and kindness, justice and liberation and all the things that you have come to relish in the tales of King Arthur and his brave knights.

From a very young age Gwalchmai is frowned upon by his father and elder brother as everything he seems to try and do falls short of the elders expectations. He is coddled by his mother the Queen Morgawse, who in her own right is the flesh an...more
T. H. White’s The Once and Future King was one of the trio of formative reading experiences at about age ten for me (along with the Narnia books and the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and ever since I read it, I’ve been an avid reader of anything Arthurian. Gillian Bradshaw’s Arthurian trilogy, in which the primary character is Gwalchmai (Bradshaw’s version of Gawaine), begins with Hawk of May, in which the young Gwalchmai grows up a semi-outcast at the court of his father Lot, in Orkney. Bradshaw e...more
Not as in love with this one as with Kingdom of Summer, its sequel; it is a lot harder to write a child's point of view than an adult's, to be fair, and there were some lovely moments of interaction between Gwalchmai and Agravain. But all in all: Gwalchmai's growth is pretty hard to make sense of — I get his desire to learn from his mother, but his rejection of her is more opaque, and it is especially difficult to understand what happens to him on the Isle of the Blessed — the tension between Li...more
I really just love this book. I've been a sucker for Arthurian legends since I read King Arthur and His Knights, which was a sort of watered-down Le Morte D'Arthur, when I was about six.

This is one of my very favorite retellings of the Arthurian legend. This is the first of Bradshaw's trilogy and is told from the perspective of Gwalchmai (Gawain), son of Morgawse and Lot of the Orcades.

Bradshaw's narrative style is lovely and adds rather than detracts to the story. Gwalchmai is both a sympathet...more
This was quite readable, and I enjoyed it at first, but there is absolutely no nuance to it. At the point that (view spoiler)...more
I'm always amazed at how an old story can be made new SO many times! In the vain of Mordred, Bastard Son this is a story from the "bad guys" point of view.

The names are newly spelled and the timeline does not duplicate the older Arthurian versions. It's a unique enough retelling that it keeps your attention and I had to read the reviews to figure out who this knight represented. I kept thinking this middle son of Morgawse, Gwalchmai was Lancerlot. I don't want to be a spoiler so I won't tell.

His name was Gwalchmai, but story tellers and legend would call him Sir Gawain. Born to an evil sorceress it was no surprise that his life was on the road to darkness. But one day destiny came calling... sending him on a very important quest. His life would be forever changed when he took up arms under the Pendragon flag.

I thought this was a wonderful take on the King Arthur legends. I love reading books about King Arthur, but this is the first time I've read one just about Sir Gawain. Hawk of M...more
First book of an arthurian trilogy. This volume speaks from the p.o.v. of Gawain, or Gwalchmai as he's called here. He grows up in the Orkney's, escapes his mother to the Otherworld and comes back to try and earn a place in Emperor Arthur's war band. I think too many things annoyed me for this to be really good. I think I if I heard anymore references to "the Light" I was going to bang my head against the wall. Plus, when a character is told "I can't/won't tell you what I know about you" really...more
I read copious amounts of King Arthur fiction when I was younger but have tired of it in recent years.
However, this particular book follows a side character (Sir Gawain) rather than the main action and just just uses the King Arthur story as a backdrop for it's own. It's also not particularly concerned with being historically accurate, and is overtly a fantasy novel with demons, sorceresses, enchanted swords, and magic.

I really enjoyed this interesting take on the legend. Gwalchmai doesn't seem...more
Gisela Dunn
This is the first book in a trilogy retelling the Arthurian legend. Even though I have read many, these remain my favorites for the beauty of the language, the characters you get to know and love (or hate, depending),and the ability of the author to transport me into a different, heroic though flawed world that I don't want to leave at the end. I'm rereading them for the ??? time and already my heart aches in anticipation of the end.
Bill P.
Apr 12, 2010 Bill P. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King Arthur and fantasy fans
Not readily available for the past five years, Sourcebooks will be reissuing this first volume in Gillian Bradshaw's Arthurian trilogy this coming September. This is a solid bit of fiction with a well developed central character, Gwalchmai (Gawain). Her Arthur is an admirable character (unlike Helen Hollick's Arthor) and the fantasy/magic angle isn't overblown in the course of the story. This could easily be marketed as a cross over YA novel as there is nothing objectionable in the content. New...more
This retelling of the legend of King Arthur is definitely not my favorite book by Bradshaw. The positives of this book were that I liked the first third quite a bit and overall I liked the style and tone of the narrator's "voice". However these were overshadowed by the fact that I didn't like the supernatural element, the unbelievability of the story, and the lack of any interesting female characters. It turns out that this was the first book of a trilogy so perhaps that is intended to come late...more
Ty Burson
A very enjoyable take on a well-known tale.
This book was out of print when I read it, but it looks like maybe it's available again. As King Arthur books go, I am fairly picky. Gawain is my favorite knight (Gwalchmai, or Hawk of May is his Welsh name), so this book had it's work cut out. Ultimately, it didn't really do it for me. It just couldn't hold a candle to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight . But few things can.
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Born in Arlington, Virgina, Gillian Bradshaw grew up in Washington, Santiago, Chile and Michigan. She is a Classics graduate from Newnham College, Cambridge, and published her first novel, Hawk of May, just before her final term. A highly acclaimed historical novelist, Gillian Bradshaw has won the Hopwood Award for Fiction, among other prizes. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and their four...more
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