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Hood: The Legend Begins Anew (King Raven #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,628 Ratings  ·  1,121 Reviews
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. Hunted like an animal by Norman invaders, Bran ap Brychan, heir to the throne Elfael, has abandoned his father's kingdom and fled to the greenwood. There, in the primeval forest of the Welsh border ...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Oasis Audio
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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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 06, 2008 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kat  Hooper
Apr 16, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Anne
Mar 22, 2016 Sarah Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, author-male
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!
Anthony Chavez
Jun 18, 2011 Anthony Chavez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jenna St Hilaire
"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
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 16, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book falls just a little short of the 5 star mark. I enjoyed it greatly...have the next volume in the series (Scarlet) on my shelf waiting and hope to get to it fairly quickly (I have hundreds of books on my shelves I'm hoping to get to rather quickly LOL).

Why 4 stars? There was (for me) a little "dragging" or "draggy-ness" in the story just past the midpoint. I also was a little less than impressed with the "modern writer writing an epic from the past" chapter. I found myself skimming a li
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
Aug 30, 2014 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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)
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.
Sep 21, 2014 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
This book promised much... but delivered little. I love the legend of Robin Hood, so really, how could I not enjoy any book based on the thieving outlaw and his merry men? Well, for a start, Robin (or Bran, as he's known in this version) is kind of the main character, but not really, with lots of chapters dedicated to Baron this and Count that's points of view (which are, quite frankly, boring). Then there's the fact that the legend's shifted to Wales, and all the familiar characters aren't call ...more
Joshua Keezer
Apr 10, 2009 Joshua Keezer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2008 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Telander
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
Oct 20, 2010 Crystal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2013 Chris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if I buy the idea of the Welsh connection, but outside of that everything here feels like "been there, done that". Changing the historical time period was done in Godwin's work, who set it during the Conquest, the Old gods was done in Robin of Sherwood (Lawhead just changed the name and gender). Bran isn't that likable (which is fine) but all characters are just simple ciphers.

Maybe if I hadn't read Godwin's work first.
Feb 25, 2016 Emmanuelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as I can remember, Robin Hood has always been one of my favorite legends, along with Camelot and Arthur. So, I was so excited to read a new version of this legend. Stephen R. Lawhead has imagined Robin Hood to be rooted in the Welsh side rather than the English one, in the 11th century. So, no Sherwood Forest, no Richard Lionheart. None of that. Just the Welsh marches, the King William II and Normans are invading the marches.

One by one, the characters, well known characters of the famous
Jan 20, 2016 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Robin Hood, but it's more like the story that could have inspired all the songs. It has a lot of background information and Bran doesn't come to resemble Robin Hood until more than 2/3 into the book. I recommend reading the author's words or whatever in the back of the book first. It's really informative and points out that since English forests were little more than well-manicured gardens Robin Hood would have had a lot of dificulty staying hidden, as opposed to the wild fore ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
After Earth: Hood: First Impressions 22 15 Jan 26, 2016 09:51AM  
After Earth: Hood: Spoiler Zone 2 6 Dec 23, 2015 08:26AM  
Did a new take on Robin Hood work? 23 97 Apr 08, 2014 07:14PM  
Into the Forest: Robin Hood (possible spoilers for Hood) 17 25 Dec 29, 2013 08:00AM  
Into the Forest: Hood - Spoilers 11 25 Aug 06, 2013 12:57PM  
  • Maid Marian
  • Robin and the King (Sherwood, #2)
  • Isle of Fire (Isle of Swords, #2)
  • Tahn (Tahn Dorn #1)
  • Shadow in the Deep (Binding of the Blade #3)
  • Shadow Over Kiriath (Legends of the Guardian-King, #3)
  • Lady of the Forest
  • Outlaw (The Outlaw Chronicles, #1)
  • The Forestwife (Forestwife Saga, #1)
  • For Camelot's Honor (The Paths to Camelot, #2)
  • The Swan Maiden
  • Eternity's Edge (Echoes from the Edge, #2)
  • The Hand That Bears the Sword
  • The Ale Boy's Feast (The Auralia Thread, #4)
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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