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(King Raven #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  13,596 ratings  ·  1,393 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, 490 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Westbow Pr
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David It is not primary to the story, but there are hints of mysticism and the druid/bardic traditions of the Welsh and Celts it it. But no one is throwing …moreIt is not primary to the story, but there are hints of mysticism and the druid/bardic traditions of the Welsh and Celts it it. But no one is throwing around fireballs or anything like that. One of the characters is portrayed as being able to see or predict the future, but very subtle.(less)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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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
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
Aug 23, 2010 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
Aug 25, 2008 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
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been a great fan of the Robin Hood legend since I was seven.
Stephen Lawhead breathes new life into the legend with this historical thriller which had me hooked from the start and which I finished in three
Robin Hood (Bran ap Brychan,) is Welsh ands not English and the main action takes place not in Sherwood Forest but the primeval Welsh greenwood. It is also set not during the reign of King John but a century earlier in the reign of William II (Rufus)
Bran , Prince of the Welsh kingdom of E
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
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
*Time read does not indicate I didn't love the book again, just that real life had me too tired to read the way I want to lately*

I don't remember where I first heard of this to be honest... but I do remember tearing through this and the other two books very quickly, utterly enchanted by the characters and the world the author plopped them into. (Also bought the soundtrack hehe and its beautiful but digressing again)

This is just a rich and compelling world. It takes the time setting up the tale
Mar 09, 2009 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
Ashley Marie
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
Not bad, at the start I really couldn’t be bothered reading this (hence the amount of time it took to read) but as it progressed and there was more fantasy and more interesting stuff I began to like and read it more and more. The ending was positively enjoyable!!
The characters could have had some more detail and back story but I still liked most of them and found the storyline fun at bits.
Not bad!
Dec 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
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
Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 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
Aug 06, 2008 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
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
'How about this pitch; everybody knows the story of Robin Hood right?'


'Popular character, popular story. But done a million times.'

'Go on.'

'So what if we take the basic Robin Hood structure; Little John, Maid Marian, Rob from the rich and give to the poor, all that stuff. And then we transport it from England to an exotic location, put a new twist on an old story.'

'Interesting, where were you thinking of?'




'Isn't that basically part of England?'

'What? No! I mean, they
R. G. Nairam
Mar 08, 2012 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)
Margaret Chind
Jul 26, 2007 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
Stargazer R. L.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 16, 17, or 18+ for much violence, grusome images, and mention of adult stuffs.
Extremely epic.
Much Robin Hood.
Love the characters.
Tons of fun.
Thumbs up.
Not for everyone.
But I loved.
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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! ...more
Emma Grace
Sep 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF (due back to library is my main reason). I really hate giving books 1 star. :( especially when I didn't even finish it.

Anyway, this book just didn't do it for me... Maybe a more in depth review to come. (Key word: maybe... If I get around to it :p)
Jenna St Hilaire
Aug 29, 2012 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
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads, my-books
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
Jan 25, 2011 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. ...more
Sep 23, 2010 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.
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: robin-hood
Characteristics to NOT give your Robin Hood character:

-An idiot
-Completely self-centered
-Moody and glum
-Abusive towards women

Characteristics Hood gives Robin Hood:

-All of the above

Things to not make your Robin Hood retelling:

-A weird mix of dry historical fiction and poorly-written mythology

Things this Robin Hood retelling was:

-A weird mix, etc, but also SO, SO BORING

-oh and we're not even going to mention that scene with the dead people. we're just. not going to mention it.

{seriously, wh
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Probably more like 2.5 rounded up. I wanted to get connected but I really struggled. Not sure why. Maybe "knowing" the story tainted the way I wanted to see it unfold. ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this. But it only gets 4 stars because of my expectations. And, I blame the publisher for that. I read the description on the back and thought - this is totally the kind of thing I like - re-imagining of classic tales. But I expected magic and things that made it belong in the Sci-Fi section (where it was, and still remains). But, after reading it, I am not sure the publisher read the same book I did. It's a great re-telling of Robin Hood, but not really Sci-Fi. I bought and read ...more
Oct 04, 2015 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
Jun 28, 2016 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.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Hood by Stephen Lawhead - 4* 5 17 Jun 23, 2019 01:32PM  
Did a new take on Robin Hood work? 23 99 Apr 08, 2014 07:14PM  
Into the Forest: Robin Hood (possible spoilers for Hood) 17 26 Dec 29, 2013 08:00AM  
Into the Forest: Hood - Spoilers 11 26 Aug 06, 2013 12:57PM  

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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

Other books in the series

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

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