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

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  1,718 Ratings  ·  85 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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Dan Schwent
Mar 17, 2009 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Pam Baddeley
Dec 19, 2016 Pam Baddeley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first in a trilogy by Gillian Bradshaw, retelling the Arthurian legends. As with some other retellings as far back as Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers and Sword at Sunset, written in the late 1950s/early 1960s, the story is set against post Roman Britain where the (former Celts, now British) have splintered into rival kingdoms and are fighting off waves of invasion by the Saxons, who have taken large parts of the country and settled there. The Saxons are not content with their ...more
Lynne Pennington
I have mixed emotions about this book. Generally speaking, I love anything Arthurian, which this book certainly is. All of the major characters are here, or most of them anyway. The story is good and Gawain (who is the main character) is likable. But I suppose my biggest criticism is one that would be a big plus for many people, there is too much fantasy here for me. I like my Arthurian historical fiction to more history and less fantasy. On the other hand, this is the first of a trilogy by an e ...more
Jan 04, 2012 Ambre rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 05, 2008 Azar rated it really liked it  ·  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
Bryce Lowry
Aug 09, 2011 Bryce Lowry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sue Smith
Jul 02, 2012 Sue Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 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
Mar 29, 2012 Star rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jul 02, 2013 Christine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Not the book for me. Too many battle scenes and too many allusions to religion.
Deborah Pickstone
6 stars

The more I read of Gillian Bradshaw, the more I am impressed. This book made me think about why one book is better than another and, on the Arthurian legends, I think the reason I was able to love Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy was that it was both a legend - so not subject to a fact check - and set in the Dark Ages whence little is known. So his mad plotting could be as mad as it liked and I didn't so much mind; aside from that trilogy I find him unreadable.

So, what is the differen
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Kat  Hooper
May 12, 2014 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

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
Juan Gallardo Ivanovic
Halcón de Mayo nos cuenta la Leyenda Artúrica, esta vez desde la perspectiva del afamado Sir Gawain y de la pluma de Gillian Bradshaw.
Gwalchmai es un joven con habilidades que calzan más con el rol de un bardo, que un guerrero hijo del Rey de las Orcadas. Su vida diaria transcurre entre las burlas de Agravain, su hermano mayor y las alabanzas de Medraut, el menor. Al sentirse parte de nada, emprenderá una senda oscura que lo llevará a desafiar a su madre y posteriormente ponerse al servicio de L
This is another book based on King Arthur's time. There are are a whole lot of unpronounceable names including the main character, and the writing style gives this book a difference from other modern fantasy.

A book without a romance
Anne Hamilton
Nov 20, 2009 Anne Hamilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
My home library consists of a room, shelved from floor to ceiling on three sides, with thousands of books lining the walls. This doesn't count the specialty shelves in other rooms.

Trust me when I say I have lots of books - and Hawk of May, while not my all-time favourite, has consistently reigned in the top five for the last few decades. It would always be amongst my choices in the 'ten books I'd take to a desert island' scenario.

The novel relies hugely on a knowledge of Arthurian legend. Don't
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
Jul 18, 2010 Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 12, 2010 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What fun! I haven't read any Arthurian legend in a long time. Having a book written about one of the knights is fabulous. From Bradshaw's historical fiction, I knew she was an excellent storyteller. I was surprised to find some of her historical fiction with a fantasy twist. Love both genres. So wow!

Gwalchmai, which means Hawk of May, is the seemingly talentless son of King Lot and Morgawse. They live in the islands north of what is now Scotland. Morgawse is the half-sister to the bastard of her
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
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
Apr 05, 2014 Cassandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
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
Aug 31, 2007 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 07, 2013 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Rene Guyton
I've actually had this book since it's release through a Science Fiction Book Club in 1990 or so - it's one of those books I never got around to reading, yet it survived the purge of moving several times and me raising my son.


I finally read it and I found the perspective interesting, but agree with the readers who found it a bit slow starting. I consider myself reasonably well-versed in things Arthurian, but the Welsh names were a bit of a struggle for me. Once I sorted out who was who in
Dec 10, 2009 Thalia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthurian
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
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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
More about Gillian Bradshaw...

Other Books in the Series

Down the Long Wind (3 books)
  • Kingdom of Summer
  • In Winter's Shadow

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