I admit the trilogy was a bit hard to read at times, I am not a complete fan of Lawhead's writing style, likeDefinitely the best book of the trilogy.
I admit the trilogy was a bit hard to read at times, I am not a complete fan of Lawhead's writing style, like Ken Follett, it can be a bit long winded at times and get to be dry reading, but the story itself, the meat of it, the research and history infused into the classic tale, that's what kept me reading. And Lawhead, like Follett and the Pillars books, does it well, from the pronunciation guide at the beginning of the books to his author notes where some of the history behind his bringing this Robin Hood trilogy to be set in the Welsh lands comes out, you can tell the man did his homework and I am thankful for it.
But one of the best things about this trilogy to me is the main character of each story, from Rhi Bran to Scatlocke to Aethelfrith. It wasn't exactly like a story told from their perspective, but it focused on their perspective more then the rest of the Merry Men or Grellon.
My favorite touch of this third book that Lawhead adds is poetry. Tuck is broken up into 5 parts and each section begins with a very interesting catchy poem that, as your reading, continues a story that parallels the trilogy almost. The poem itself seems written in Middle English or is similar to it, and to me I kept wondering, who wrote this poem? Is it an actual early poem/song about Robin Hood or did Lawhead write it? It definitely didn't sound Lawhead'esque. It rhymed and was lyrical and really made the story more entertaining, and once you reach the end you realize it also foreshadowed the epilogue.
When reading or watching anything related to Robin Hood I oftentimes find myself searching for THE memorable characters that crossover from one to the next, the Little John's, Merian, Friar Tuck, etc. In this series after the first two books I was thinking to myself, "shucks, I guess Alan a'Dale isn't going to make an appearance in these stories..." then BAM! Out of nowhere he shows up, I have to admit it took me by surprise and I got a little giddy, he is a remarkable character and Lawhead did a beautiful job of writing him.
All in all Lawhead has added his unique perspective and twist on my favorite legend, that of Robin Hood. After reading the entire trilogy, I'm very glad to have read the historical gems he adds at the end, breaking down how revolutionary and deadly the longbow was at the time (especially when weilded by the Welsh). I can't imagine the story without it. The epilogue was also great, you have the trilogy, the meat of the legend and how it was created, and then the epilogue is how that legend lives on. Through Thomas a’Dale, traveling bard and songster, grandson of Alan a’Dale, the story travels to Nottingham and Sherwood Forest:
“so long as the singer took care to adapt it to his listeners: dropping in names of the local worthies, the places nearby that local folk knew, any particular features of the countryside and its people--it all helped to create a sense of instant recognition for those he entertained, and flattered his patrons.” Stephen Lawhead, Tuck, p. 432.
Beautifully done, we see one adaptation among many that a minstrel plays, playing to the crowd, adjusting the story so the nobles would like it, but this is the one we recognize the most and can therefore finally connect to Lawhead’s Rhi Bran y Hud, Bran ap Brychan, Robin Hood.
A great addition to the series told mainly from the perspective of the captive Will Scarlet, one of my favorite characters in the legends of Robin HooA great addition to the series told mainly from the perspective of the captive Will Scarlet, one of my favorite characters in the legends of Robin Hood. It sort of irked me a bit that this was told very different from the first book. The first book, aptly titled Hood, was told from many perspectives, that of Bran/Hood, Count De Braose, and Baron Neufmarche; whereas, Scarlet is told almost entirely from the perspective of Will Scarlet, if definitely feels like a different writing style this way, and more one sided of a tale, but you get used to it. And it isn't entirely from his perspctive,. it does switch a couple times to Neufmarche, or the Count De Braose's Sheriff.
Most of the book is told by Will Scarlet while he is imprisoned by the Abbott Hugo. Hugo has sent a monk named Odo to chronicle Will's journey to getting imprisoned and is writing everything Will says to him down. Will knows that he is a pawn of the Abbott and starts his tale WAY before even meeting Bran to draw out the conversation and thus his date of hanging, which he knows is coming. Along the way Odo ends up sypathizing with Will and hels him get a message to Bran and planning his escape from custody and death.
One drawback to Lawhead's writing is that it doesn't grip me right away. It tends to take me a while to really get into each book, this one was the same way, I wouldn't say its a slow start to his books but it must be the way he writes. But the tale and the historical work he puts into the book make it well worth the read and continuing the series. It was a good book, and I look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy by Lawhead....more
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/siBran'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 had no idea of the time period the Robin Hood stories originated or that he probably originated in Wales, the shift to this time period and location in the King Raven trilogy was exciting to read. The Welsh names such as Rhi Bran (Robin Hood) were very interesting and how they got their nicknames, Aethilfrith being a "fat little bag of vittles that he is, I will call him Tuck," and Iwan's Welsh name translating to English makes him John, "So, overgrown infant that he is, I will call him Little John."
I won't lie, the first 50 pages were rough, the story a bit dry, it took me some time to start seriously reading it, but once I broke the 100 page mark it started taking of and I kept wanting to see what happens. The end was great, with the introduction of Guy of Gisbourne. I look forward to seeing who some of the politicians/religious figures in the book turn out to be and how some of the warring/rival Lords get on in the next book "Scarlet." ...more