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Hood (King Raven #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  11,252 Ratings  ·  1,183 Reviews
Robin Hood

The Legend Begins Anew

For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting.

Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Stephen R. Lawhead's latest work conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contem
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Thomas Nelson
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Bess While the term "fantasy" is considered an equivalent term to "fiction," this story is very believable. There aren't exuberant supernatural or…moreWhile the term "fantasy" is considered an equivalent term to "fiction," this story is very believable. There aren't exuberant supernatural or spiritual occurrences or events. While it is not the typical story of Robin Hood, it is, in my opinion, a much better rendition. I would say, to answer the question posted, very low levels of fantasy but very high levels of fiction; if that makes sense. There are some very imaginative stories by the banfaith; some tall tales! Aside from that, this story seems like it could have actually happened. Happy reading!(less)
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Community Reviews

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Robin Hood and Friar Tuck together once again...but not quite as all of us remember them:

Never fear HOODites...Sir Daffy’s “oscar worthy” portrayal notwithstanding, Stephen Lawhead’s re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend is among the best I’ve come across and is praise-deserving for both its realism and its fresh, unique interpretation of the familiar tale. For the most part, I found this version very effective.

Rather than England’s well trodden Sherwood Forest, Lawhead has transported his st
DNF'd at 35%. I'm just not feeling this. The story is decent enough and I love the idea of a gritty, realistic, Welsh Robin Hood. The execution is just falling flat, and there's too much out there I want to read to continue reading a book I don't care about.

There's something off about this writing. While I wouldn't necessarily call it bad, it feels forced. Like the author is making a conscious effort to "dumb down" his narrative to make it YA. It ends up reading about as flat as a poorly done tr
Sep 08, 2010 Werner rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of action-oriented historical fiction
Lawhead is one of my favorite authors, so I had a built-in interest in his King Raven trilogy as soon as I heard about it. (This first volume didn't disappoint!) Unlike the author's Dragon King and Song of Albion fantasy trilogies, this one is a work of historical fiction; like Parke Godwin in Sherwood, he's set himself to re-imagine what the actual roots of the Robin Hood legend might have been like, and like the latter he locates Robin in the 11th century, not the 12th. Lawhead, though, places ...more
Oct 08, 2015 Matt rated it it was ok
10/8/2015 Addendum:
I just got an email that someone liked this review and it took me a moment to even remember that I had read it. Usually I don't have a problem remember a book I've read, even years later. With this one, however, I cannot even remember anything about the plot. Could be relevant...

Original review:

I'm not any sadder for reading this book, but I'm certainly not any more enriched or anything. His historical spin on the Robin Hood legend is well-conceived but poorly ex
Stephen Lawhead's new trilogy about Robin Hood, the King Raven trilogy, is pretty unusual in its portrayal of Robin Hood as a Welsh prince in the time of William II rather than a dispossessed aristocrat during Richard the Lionheart's crusades. Stephen Lawhead includes an epilogue, 'Robin Hood in Wales', in which he explains his reasoning.

It will seem strange to many readers, and perhaps even perverse, to take Robin Hood out of Sherwood Forest and relocate him in Wales; worse still, to remove all
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Apr 13, 2015 Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten* rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten* by: TL
4.5 stars

This is the start of a phenomenal trilogy, I can tell already. This was my first Lawhead book, and I can't wait to read more. Robin Hood has been one of my favorite legends since I was little and first saw this version:

That fox was sexy.

Ahem, anyway -- I LOVED seeing these characters reimagined closer to how they would have been, were they real. The story itself is timeless, but it always feels most at home in medieval times. And setting them down in Wales rather than England was an in
Kat  Hooper
Apr 16, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Hood is the first novel in Stephen Lawhead's latest series, the King Raven Trilogy, which is a historical fantasy based on the Robin Hood legend. Lawhead places his story in Wales after the conquest of Britain by the Normans and during the reign of William the Red. (If that sounds a bit odd, Mr. Lawhead gives several convincing reasons for this at the end of the book -- you might want to read that first.)

The Normans are encroaching into Wales, confiscating
Mar 27, 2009 Kipi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophiles and lovers of British history
When I discovered a relatively new series of books based on the Robin Hood legend, I was immediately interested. It began when I saw an ad here on for Tuck, the recently published last installment of the trilogy. It was one of those flashing ads that for the most part are simply annoying, but advertising works and I finally clicked on it…and discovered a treasure. Stephen Lawhead is an internationally-known Christian writer who, I am somewhat ashamed to say, I had not heard of unti ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Amber rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This version of the Robin Hood story is taken from the stand point that puts most of it happening on the welsh side not the English like the story is usually set in. Just one of the reasons I liked the book. The part of Hood is played by a man named Bran and how he started becoming the "Robin Hood" figure starts in this book as well the introduction of some of the characters we know. Bran, "the Robin Hood" character, is not the good guy at first but a womanizing, duty shirking prince. Kinda puts ...more
Sarah Anne
Mar 22, 2016 Sarah Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, author-man
I'm DNFing this particular edition because the narrator is absolutely atrocious. Mispronunciations of British words by an american actor truly annoyed me but then he started mispronouncing american English words.

But I must must must actually read the book! It's set somewhere between 1066 (post-Norman Conquest) and 1154 (founding of the Angevins) and features Normans, Franks, Saxons, Welsh history, and post-conquest events! This is very very very exciting! Very! Okay, so I'm kind of a nut for thi
Jan 23, 2016 Allison marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skimmed
This just did not interest me at all. I kept skimming and skimming, waiting to get sucked in and it just wasn't happening. Then I thought I'd try something else for a while and come back to it, but I don't have any interest in returning to it at all. It could completely just be me and my mood at the moment, but I feel no regret leaving it. Glad I only borrowed it from the library!
Cait • A Page with a View
Well that was a letdown. I absolutely love Robin Hood, Wales, anything medieval, and Celtic mythology, so this retelling seemed like the best setup ever!!

Unfortunately it's just dull the whole way through. The writing was overly descriptive and could have easily been 1/3 of the length. I couldn't even get into the action scenes. There's just something weird about the writing that feels forced or like even the author couldn't bring himself to care much.

The basic plot is that Bran ap Brychan is t
Margaret Chind
Aug 30, 2014 Margaret Chind rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like fairy tales and historical fiction
This book was really enjoyable. It was my first Lawhead book and I think I will look for the sequels and possible other series of his as well. Every once in a while there was a monologue of a character's thoughts on their past and I hated it and love it at the same time. Part of me would just want to get past it so I could get back to the action and events in the story, while at the same time it was interesting and fairly important to understanding the character, the events, and to find empathy. ...more
Jenna St Hilaire
Aug 29, 2012 Jenna St Hilaire rated it liked it
"The Welsh are extreme in all they do, so that if you never meet anyone worse than a bad Welshman, you will never meet anyone better than a good one." Thus writes Gerald of Wales, quoted at the back of this novel as part of Lawhead's fascinating defense for his choice to set the Robin Hood legend among the Cymry—the eleventh-century Welsh. The quote continues with: "Above all, they are passionately devoted to liberty, and almost excessively warlike."

Lawhead's "Rhi Bran"—'King Raven'—starts off r
Jan 02, 2009 edifanob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2009-reads
This is the first book of "THE KING RAVEN TRILOGY" by Stephen R. Lawhead.

Most of us know the tale of Robin Hood who spent a lot of time in Sherwood Forest.
For more information please look at:

When I think of Robin Hood I always see the picture of Errol Flynn. This is my Robin Hood:

"Robin Hood: The Legend Begins Anew
For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the
Anthony Chavez
Jun 18, 2011 Anthony Chavez rated it really liked it
Bran's father is killed and his land of Elfael taken by Ffreinc invaders, he escapes barely with his life, while recovering a minstrel/healer tells/sings him the story of the King Raven, the story instills life into his broken body and over time it becomes a part of him, once healed he vows to help his people and gain back what was stolen from the lands of Elfael.

I like the research Lawhead does into the history and lore of the characters he chooses, like Merlin, Hood, King Arthur and so on. I h
Hood sets the King Raven trilogy off to a great start. I enjoyed the way Lawhead places Hood in Wales, circa 1093, and completely reinvents the legend from what I've known before. Brilliant, captivating and left me eager for more. Most impressive is Lawhead didn't leave me with a cliffhanger; he didn't so much as end this first part of the trilogy as pause it. I appreciate that difference.
Dec 01, 2015 Jo rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
It's no secret that I love all things Welsh or should I say British? Wales is a land of enchantment and resetting the Robin Hood myth there is nothing short of brilliant. Lawhead always writes a good tale and this one was one of his better ones. The characters are well drawn and the plot moved along nicely. I now have access to the entire trilogy so I am excited to read on.
R. G. Nairam
Jul 22, 2015 R. G. Nairam rated it it was ok
I have a great idea.

Let's make a Robin Hood book that is set in Wales at the time of the Norman invasion to include yet another contention between races, add a whole lot of medieval political intrigue and medieval details in general, forget now and then that this is historical fiction and have some fantasy/supernatural elements, and--idea of ideas--make it boring.

Yes, that's the catch. It's boring.

I really don't get it. This book should have everything going for it, and yet parts (lots of parts)
Nov 05, 2015 Donna rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more than I actually did. This is a retelling of sorts about Robin Hood. I liked the new approach to this story. It was new and basically traveled a new path. It had some interesting twists. I loved the witch in the woods. I guess I expected this to be more riveting than it was. I did the audio on this and I didn't care for the narrator. So that was part of the problem. So, three stars.

I have the second in this series and will get to it tomorrow. Hopefully, it well go well.
Jeff Miller
Jul 01, 2016 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing
Wow I so now love Lawhead and how he takes stories from legend to a new level and imbues them with the good and the true. He also puts new life into the stories of Robin Hood.

Another thing I really like from his books is that these historical worlds have the Catholicism of the time and not some distortion of it. Lawhead himself is an American Evangelical Protestant of some type, and I would have guessed that he was at least High Anglican and I had thought him also to be British by his style.
Sep 02, 2016 Schuyler rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

One thing I really liked about Lawhead's retelling is his fully fleshed out villains. We flip back and forth between Bran and the villain POV. Count de Braose is a very good henchman to the crown with complex flaws, and the lengths he went to surprised me on occasion. Some of the villains are strong and ruthless and some of them are weak and cringing, but in a totally believable way. Lawhead's villains are individuals, with individual motivations and allies, and I really like that real
Alex Telander
Jan 29, 2013 Alex Telander rated it it was amazing
There are a couple of “legends” in British history that many people worldwide know about: one of them is King Arthur and the other is Robin Hood. Arthur has an entire bookshelf of history and fiction written about him, and many of those fiction books profess to be as accurate as the possible truth, even though it is still not fully known if there ever was such a living person. As for Robin Hood, much of the same story and lore shrouds this figure, and yet the amount written about him is small in ...more
Kitvaria Sarene
Sep 19, 2016 Kitvaria Sarene rated it did not like it
Given up at almost exactly 50%

I think this will not only be my first - but also my last Lawhead...
The writing style is at fault to 60% of my dislike. It read way too easy. Like the essay of a 14 year old, not like a published novel. The only other books I had a problem like this with was "50 shades" and books by the German author duo "Iny Lorentz". I am not a book snob. I openly admit to liking twilight and some chick lit. But this just felt forced to me.

I couldn't really click well with any of
I've never read any Robin Hood retellings or any Lawhead books so this was pretty new for me. I had no standards for this book because of it, so I was neither disappointed nor pleasantly surprised.

In the beginning of the book it wasn't that hard to get into. There is action within the first chapter. It continues this way for a while, switching between boring details and action. The boring details take forever and consume almost half the book. You learn the whole history of Great Britain to the
Oct 20, 2010 Crystal rated it it was ok
so far the story itself and the setting are both interesting, but I feel like I'm wading through words. Where was this man's editor? the constant switches in perspective are really distracting too.
finally, my labor of love is ended! I labored, not for love of this book, but love of my mother who recommended this to me as one of her favorites, and "as good as Lord of the Rings". ahem. I beg to differ. I felt like I was DROWNING in description in this book. How man
Sep 21, 2014 Kara rated it liked it
Shelves: robin-hood

Unfortunately, when compared to Parke Godwin’s Sherwood, this comes off as a watered down copy of Godwin’s story. Godwin and Lawhead both set the Robin Hood story shortly after the Norman Conquest, but Godwin’s version has a lot more depth to it.

Lawhead’s take was to set the story in Wales and argue that the seed for the Robin Hood stories was Welsh. It’s a great set up, but the story itself is a lot of set up and not a whole lot of substance. There’s some myth and magic thrown in, but it’s pret
Feb 25, 2008 Katy rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joshua Keezer
Apr 10, 2009 Joshua Keezer rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Hood is one of those books that could have been truly amazing if not for some really simple problems. As a thousand other reviews will tell you, this is a variation of Robin Hood that pits a Welsh prince named Bran in the seat of Robin Hood and using The Marsh in place of Shirewood Forest.

The concept of the story is a great one. I was finding it very refreshing to discover a character I had met was one of the mythology. Certain characters kind of sneak up on you where others are obvious. Even w
This book is better written and conceived than the 3 star rating suggests. However, its pacing is a problem. The whole book reads like the first act of a book, and by the end of it it feels like the real action is only beginning.

That wouldn't be too bad (it is a trilogy after all) but the amount of story that takes place in the length of this book is far too low.

That said, the book is very finely crafted. The characters are well drawn for the most part, with only one character of any significanc
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
After Earth: Hood: First Impressions 22 15 Jan 26, 2016 06:51PM  
After Earth: Hood: Spoiler Zone 2 7 Dec 23, 2015 05:26PM  
Did a new take on Robin Hood work? 23 98 Apr 09, 2014 04:14AM  
Into the Forest: Robin Hood (possible spoilers for Hood) 17 25 Dec 29, 2013 05:00PM  
Into the Forest: Hood - Spoilers 11 26 Aug 06, 2013 09:57PM  
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Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium, Patrick, and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion.

Also see his fanpage at Myspace:

Stephen was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. Most of his early life was spent in America where he earned
More about Stephen R. Lawhead...

Other Books in the Series

King Raven (3 books)
  • Scarlet (King Raven, #2)
  • Tuck (King Raven, #3)

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