The King Raven Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead – Book Review!

Good morning!  I hope your weekend is starting off well.  Our weather forecast here is for one to three inches of snow.  I’m hoping it’s more like one because I want to play Dungeons & Dragons tonight!

This post is a bit overdue because I finished reading The King Raven Trilogy several weeks ago but it was so good I had to make the time to write about it.  I picked up all three for Kindle when they were part of the Daily Deal and I’m very glad that I did.  I have read Stephen R. Lawhead’s Taliesin, Merlin, and Arthur a long time ago and loved them so I took a chance on Hood, Scarlet, and Tuck.  If you’re thinking of getting them for Kindle, I recommend the trilogy together in one volume using my first link above.  Based on the prices (as of the writing of this post) you’ll save $13.44 that way.  As always, I recommend checking the prices before you buy to make sure you get the best price.

The trilogy is a version of the Robin Hood legend that is very different from what you are probably accustomed to.   Stephen R. Lawhead creates a historical setting and includes some fantastic but very believable elements.  I really did feel like I was taken on a journey to Wales of old with deep characters whose strengths and flaws only made them more likable.

In Hood, you follow Bran ap Brychan, the prince of his people and the Normans take the land by force.  I don’t want to give away the story so I won’t go into too much detail.  It is written in the third person and not exclusively from Bran’s perspective but he does take center stage.  It’s the beginnings of his “merry band.”  Although they aren’t precisely the characters you know from other Robin Hood tales (and don’t bear the exact same names), you will recognize Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, and the sheriff.  I loved all of these characters and was especially drawn to the fact that he doesn’t paint his Marian as a damsel in distress.  There are some very strong female characters that carry through the books.

Scarlet takes a very different direction.  It’s primarily told by Will Scarlet as he is held prisoner by the Abbott and the Count and relates his tale to a priest.  Much of the story is first person though there are parts in third person from the perspective of others.  I really liked Will and came to like the priest as well.  The start of the book took my by surprise because the voice was so different from the first but I give credit to Lawhead for being able to capture Will’s voice so well.  I developed a real understanding of his situation and the desperation of it.  Don’t worry though, you’ll see your other favorite characters here too!

Tuck is the amazing conclusion to the trilogy.  It does lean towards the friar’s perspective but is told in third person and we visit with many other characters as well.  The friar is quite a brave soul and is very important to the happenings in this volume.  There are some real ups and downs in this one (he brought me to tears once).  The ending is unexpected and I was quite satisfied although I had a hard time letting these characters go.  That’s my measure of a really great story.  I liked them all so much that it was hard to say goodbye.

In conclusion, I highly recommend The King Raven Trilogy.  If you enjoy medieval type themed fantasy or the Robin Hood legend this trilogy is for you.  It’s more historical than swords and sorcery and you’ll definitely want to check out the pronunciation guide at the back of the book.  Lawhead likes to use more historically accurate spellings for names which I quite like about him.

I’ve moved on to book five of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons.  As of this writing it is $4.99 for Kindle.  I love this series and, so far, the fifth book hasn’t been disappointing.  Can’t wait for George R.R. Martin to finish book six and for the next season of Game of Thrones on HBO.  But I have plenty to keep me busy.  I’m finishing my own book, playing with an at-level raid guild in World of Warcraft, playing Star Trek Online with friends, and planning a mini vacation with my nephews.  Oh, and there’s that day job thing too.

Have a wonderful weekend and I hope your week ahead is amazing too!

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