King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales--and fear to their Norman overlords. Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of King Raven--bringing him much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.
Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced to take matters into his own hands as King Raven. Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, he ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.
Filled with unforgettable characters, breathtaking suspense, and rousing battle scenes, Stephen R. Lawhead's masterful retelling of the Robin Hood legend reaches its stunning conclusion in Tuck. Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Lawhead's trilogy conjures up an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.
As a writer it can be difficult to turn off that internal editor and critique everything I read. Few authors pen stories that allow me to enter their fictional worlds without being yanked out, that allow me to simply read for enjoyment. Lawhead is one of them. I read Tuck for the pleasure of it, still I had questions.
I loved the action and adventure, especially when the arrows were flying--why didn't the Normans bring their own arrows? Why did they forever enter these losing battles? One can only assume this was in keeping true to history, just as the British fought, their soldiers lined in row after row, rather than utilizing more strategic tactics.
Nevertheless, all played out well, believably, credibly. I was more than sorry to see the Banfaith--a prophetess, bard, seer Lawhead enjoys putting in his novels--die in such a horrid way, rather than knowing it was her time and tromping off to die somewhere in the woods. However, she died nobly, saving her people. As a seer, I would think she could have seen trouble coming, and hidden them away safely before the lost soldiers discovered their hidden camp. Alas! All things work for good and there was meaning even in her death.
Along with the Banfaith, one of my favorite phrases I see in Lawhead's work is his reference to God as the Swift Sure Hand. Would that we all had our own particular and unique reference to Him.
Regarding the phantom,
For as they stood looking at the boulders in their path, there arose a thin, bloodless cry--like that of the wind when it moans in the high tree branches, but no kindly breeze lifted the leaves. The soldiers glanced around furiously, trying to discover the source of the sound. The cry became a shriek, gathering strength, filling the surrounding woodland with a call at once unnatural and unnerving, full of all the mystery of the greenwood--as if the forest itself had taken voice to shout its outrage at the presence of the Ffreinc.
I can't begin to imagine this sound. Did Bran make this himself? Or did he use an unearthly mythical instrument of some kind. Maybe this was in playing into the mythical tone intended for the story, and I'm certainly willing to buy into it.
Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite author, among my favorite books are Byzantium, Song of Albion series, and Scarlet.
His website: www.stephenlawhead.com