Stephen R. Lawhead discussion

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message 1: by Werner (last edited Feb 26, 2010 06:40AM) (new)

Werner Since we don't have any discussions going yet in this group, I thought a good place to start might be to tell a bit about ourselves, and about our acquaintance with Lawhead's work. For instance, I'm 57 years old, married with three grown daughters and four grandkids, a librarian in a Southern Baptist college here in the Virginia mountains, and an avid reader and Goodreads participant. (I'm also a co-moderator in the Christian Goodreaders group, which some of you may want to check out.)

So far, I've read and liked Lawhead's Song of Albion trilogy, and In the Hall of the Dragon King. Last year, on the recommendation of a co-worker (who's also a Goodreads friend), I started Dream Thief, but didn't get into it --sometimes my liking for an author's fantasy writing doesn't transfer to his/her efforts in science fiction, and I'm kind of picky about what I like in the SF genre, anyway. But I have Avalon somewhere in my massive to-read piles on the bottom shelves of my office bookcases, along with one of the Celtic Crusades books; and I'm interested in the King Raven series as well!

message 2: by Werner (new)

Werner Laura-Lee, having read all of Lawhead's work so far, what would you say is your favorite book (or perhaps series) of his?

message 3: by Werner (new)

Werner I wasn't greatly impressed with Dream Thief myself, but then I didn't finish it. A Goodreads friend of mine had wanted me to read it, so I tried, but just didn't connect with it; though I like a lot of science fiction, I don't really get into the strand with high-tech settings, so that was probably the problem there. My favorite so far would have to be the Song of Albion trilogy (though parts of it are very grisly); but as I read more, I might find another favorite!

message 4: by Anna (new)

Anna | 1 comments I'm Anna. I live on Maryland's Eastern Shore and work for the government in Arlington, VA/ I am 41 years old and an avid reader of way too many authors. Laura Lee contacted me about this group. I have enjoyed everything I've read by Stephen Lawhead. I picked up my first Lawhead book because of my fascination of all things King Arthur. I enjoyed his writing so much, that I read several more. I will say here that it has been several years since I've read him. When Laura Lee told me about the group, I told her I'd have to re-read him. Luckily, Library Day is Thursday, so I'll be sure to grab several. Once I've re-read, I'll be able to chime in. Wonderful to meet you all.

message 5: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1 comments I've read and reread the Pendragon Cycle.
My favorite books are the first three (Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur.)
There is something about the first book, though...Taliesin is such an enigmatic soul! His music, his gentle nature, his big heart...

message 6: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (marcher08) I'm Michelle. I'm a working mom and wife in West Tennessee. I have two boys and a wonderful husband. I am also an avid reader. I have made it a point to read some books that my kids are interested in through the years so that we can discuss them together. That is why I recently picked up Hood (King Raven, #1) by Stephen R. Lawhead . My 15 year old is interested in myth/legend stories and I thought this would be an adult book we could read together. I had read Taliesin and Merlin years ago and I feld I was on safe ground. I was surprised (pleasantly) to find when reading Hood, however, that Lawhead was considered a Christian Fiction author. It interested me enough to go to his website and read a little more about him. I wonder if anyone in the group would want to comment on that aspect of his writing. I found it very understated in Hood. This approach is not necessarily typical of this genre today. While I was on the website I looked at his other writings and I have the nagging feeling that I have read more of his books but I can't quite say for sure. I will eventually give more of them a try. My son did like Hood so we have the other 2 on order and will be reading them soon.

message 7: by Crystal (new)

Crystal (kieloch) | 4 comments Hello everyone –
I’m Crystal, the infamous co-worker to the Wern-man! That’s funny. Werner is a wonderful colleague and I have great respect for his literary intellect.
I am a long time Lawhead fan but am not as serious as some of this list. I read Dream Thief, In the Hall of the Dragon King Series, The Empyrion Saga, and the Song of Albion Series. I also read the first three in the Pendragon series. It's been (in some cases) almost 20 years since I read most of these. I never quite finished Byzantium. I talked my husband into reading The Empyrion Saga, which he liked and somewhere I’ve got to find my copy of Dream Thief so that he can read it. It has been a while but I remember really liking Dream Thief.
The imagery in the Song of Albion series was fabulous and I remember the same for the books that I did read in the Pendragon series. I did pick up Hood within the last year and found that it did not grab me like his other books did years ago. My husband read all of it and liked it. He did not rave about it but he liked it. I’m wondering if my tastes have changed. But I’ve been inspired by one comment here about Talesin so I may go back and try to read it to see if I’ve changed or Lawhead has changed.  It’s likely me. And I might go back and read Dream Thief since no one (so far) has like it as much as I have.
I know at one point, I was concerned that Lawhead was churning out books and this might have caused his quality to change. I don’t know that but had that thought. Does anyone have any feeling on that? In making a comparison from his earlier to later work?
I’m busy with grad school now and lots of other reading but I’ll try to comment when I can. I’m glad to be part of the group.

message 8: by Werner (new)

Werner Thanks, Crystal! My "literary intellect" isn't much to write home about, but I'm always glad to run into somebody who thinks it is. :-) For those who don't know Crystal outside the group, though, her literary intellect is more formidible! (And she's a treasured Goodreads friend of mine.)

You (and probably most of the other group members) have read a lot more of Lawhead's early work than I have, so can draw better informed comparisons. Based on what I have read of the earlier works, though, I'd say that Hood and Scarlet (I've now read the former and most of the latter) impress me as having a simpler prose style and less complex plotting than the earlier novels, especially the Song of Albion books --my memories of In the Hall of the Dragon King aren't as sharp, since it was longer ago that I read it. They're certainly not as long, and not as graphically violent as the Song of Albion trilogy. However, I'm not convinced that these differences indicate decline in quality per se; we're just dealing with a simpler story, and one that doesn't lend itself to as much infusion of elements from Celtic mythology. (It's also descriptive historical fiction, rather than speculative fantasy.) My Goodreads friend Jackie and I are enjoying the King Raven books enormously; and for my part, I think toning down the violence level is an improvement.

message 9: by JoLene (last edited Dec 25, 2010 11:16AM) (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 62 comments Mod
Hello all --- I am new to GoodReads, but not to Stephen Lawhead :-D. I have read many of his works including:
King Raven trilogy
Celtic Crusades trilogy
Song of Albion trilogy (definitely a fav)

I read Taliesin in college many years ago because I loved all things King Arthur, but I got side-tracked with school and didn't finish the series --- now it's on my TBR list. I came back to Lawhead when I picked up the first book in the Celtic Crusades series ( Iron Lance) and have been working my way through ever since.

@ Crystal - Regarding a changing style, Stephen Lawhead was battling cancer during his writing of the Hood series which might explain a bit about a different style. I am currently reading the Dragon King trilogy and that is geared towards young adults so it is also a bit simpler.

message 10: by Diane (new)

Diane (rock89) | 3 comments Hi Everyone! I'm Diane, a married mother of 3 teenage boys living in Western Pennsylvania (outside Pittburgh). I work full-time in the medical field. I am new to goodreads and am an avid reader. I was turned on to Stephen Lawhead about 4 or 5 years ago when a friend recommended Taliesin to me. I have been a huge fan ever since. I have read all the Pendragon Cycle along with Arthur, Byzantium, Patrick, The King Raven Trilogy, and the Skin Map. I have both The Paradise War and Dream Thief on my kindle, but haven't gotten to them yet. My favorite books so far have been the Pendragon books. Like some others have mentioned here, I have a huge interest in all things relating to the King Arthur legends. I was a bit disappointed in The Skin Map. I just couldn't get as drawn in to it as I have his other books. Anyway, I am looking forward to getting to know you all!

message 11: by Jadi Cedonia (new)

Jadi Cedonia (jcverdin) Hi, I'm Jadi. I'm a college student in the South. I started reading Lawhead about five, close to six years ago. He's my favorite author. I've read most of his books that I've been able to find.

King Raven, Dragon King, Empyrion, Dream Thief, Celtic Crusades, Pendragon Cycle, Avalon, Patrick, Byzantium, Song of Albion, City of Dreams...

I guess my favorite would be The Dragon King trilogy. It's not because his latest books weren't better than that series, but because it was the first series I'd read by him. It just so happened to be his first series.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi - Bonnie here. I live in the Pacific Northwest :0) I have 4 kids and 1 grandson xoxo
I've been a huge fan of Stephen Lawhead for years, probably Taliesin is the first book of his that I read. I love that series, The Song of Albion, and the Celtic Crusades (although I will say I LOVED The Iron Lance, and liked the other 2) Byzantium is one of my all-time favorite books. I haven't read the King Raven books or The Dragon King or Skin Map, but I'm looking forward to it.
The great thing about his books IMO is that he makes everything come alive, the place/time/people - it all just feels so real. And I'm always inspired to walk closer with God after I've finished reading one of his books :0) Glad to find fellow fans!

message 13: by Adam (new)

Adam Collings (adamcollings) | 18 comments Hi. I'm an Aussie nerd in my early 30s. I have a wife and two kids (and dream of being a published author).

I've read
* The "In the Hall of the Dragon King" trilogy
* All the Pendragon books
* The song of Albion trilogy
* Dream Thief
* Both Emperion books
* Byzantium

Looking forward to catching up with the King Raven trilogy, and The Skin Map.
Also I'm looking forward to reading the dragon king books to my kids when they are a little bit older.

message 14: by Nüll (new)

Nüll (westmoure) | 6 comments Heya! Im Naddahnyll, I've read just about everything Lawhead has published. I joined this group awhile ago...but it came up in my active group box so I decided to check it out again. I'm 15 1/2 So I'm probably the youngest member here...

message 15: by Karen (new)

Karen | 2 comments I'm Karen, 45, from Oklahoma. My first Lawhead book was "Hood" in 2007 and I haven't stopped reading him since. I don't always love everything he writes. Did not care for the Dragon King trilogy, perhaps because it was for younger readers, though there are many books for kids that I thoroughly enjoy. I did not like Patrick at all. Not that it wasn't well written, his books are always well written, it is simply that the character of Patrick was so unlikable. We never really find out how he became the beloved saint, for his actions were less than saint-like.
Loved the King Raven trilogy. Loved the Pendragon Cycle. Loved Byzantium. Liked the Song of Albion trio. Listened to The Skin Map, and although I'm not gaga over it, I am willing to go on with the series. The Iron Lance (Celtic Crusades) is in my stack of books to read.
That's all for now! :D

message 16: by Banner (new)

Banner | 10 comments Hey Karen, looks like you've read most of his books. I still need to try the Dragon King. My absolute favorite is Byzantium

message 17: by Karen (new)

Karen | 2 comments Banner wrote: "Hey Karen, looks like you've read most of his books. I still need to try the Dragon King. My absolute favorite is Byzantium"

No quite, Banner, but I'm getting there. Your name reminds me of that old Steve Taylor song "Banner Man" and it gave me a chuckle. But you probably don't even know what I'm talking about. LOL

message 18: by Nüll (new)

Nüll (westmoure) | 6 comments Banner wrote: "Hey Karen, looks like you've read most of his books. I still need to try the Dragon King. My absolute favorite is Byzantium"

The Dragon King was alright, but much more of a children's story, but that doesn't lessen the Lawhead contained.

My personal favorites are the Song of Albion trilogy,
Specifically The Endless Knot.

message 19: by Andrew (new)

Andrew | 11 comments Hello all. I'm Andrew, 24 years old, currently teaching English in China with my beautiful wife. I love a good story and enjoy history so when I discovered Lawhead a few years ago I instantly became a fan. His works are exciting, intriguing, and at times moving as he traces God's hand through time in these incredible stories.

message 20: by Adam (new)

Adam Collings (adamcollings) | 18 comments G'day Andrew.

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