I just finished reading Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead. The series, King Raven, is one of the best retellings of the Robin Hood story I’ve ever read.
REVIEW of “Tuck”
For the uninitiated, the series is set in the Welsh borderlands and in an earlier time period than we are accustomed to. The story progresses from book to book, though each sees the tale primarily through one main character: Robin (or Rhi Bran, as he’s named here), Will Scarlet—and Friar Tuck.
Fully committed in his loyalty to Robin, Tuck’s simple faith provides some pivotal moments in the story. Witty, pious, and wielding a good solid staff, he gives his all to helping Robin regain his throne against an oblivious king and the power-hungry Normans who want his rich lands for their own, even when it puts him in situations he finds terrifying and impossible. His faith and his faithfulness carry him through.
Written in third person omniscient, the story occasionally features other players so that the reader can understand a wider perspective of the story—and for the most part, this worked well. There were some instances, particularly toward the end of the novel, where I thought it felt contrived.
Lawhead does a fine job illustrating life in the middle ages, and it is not difficult to imagine the reality of mean shelters in the woods, humble houses of worship, and the rough halls of the nobility. The characters he paints fit there well. They are imperfect; they are human. Cultures clash, views of human rights cause divisions, personal character is tested.
Intrigue, desperation, and determination fill the pages of a truly wonderful story.
“Pray God our aim is true and each arrow finds its mark.”
King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.
Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.
Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.
This epic trilogy dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood as Stephen R. Lawhead conjures an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. 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.
This book is for you if you:
- Enjoy well-developed, realistic characters
- Like historical fiction with a touch of fantasy
- Are looking for Flinch-Free Fantasy
This book is not for you if you:
- Don’t like attention to detail
- Want a fast-paced story
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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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