I stumbled upon Hood, the first of Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy, quite by accident. A local bookstore was going out of business and I, never one to let a good deal pass me by, snagged the hardcover copy of Hood for a mere dollar or two. I let it languish on my shelves for a few months before a search for something (anything!) to read lead me to crack open its pages.
And I was hooked.
Medieval fiction, it’s not really my thing and besides that, I knew nothing of Robin Hood lore except the Disney animation–but the two together in Lawhead’s capable hands? The result is a fascinating and exciting retelling of the Robin Hood legend set in eleventh century Wales. Maid Marian, Little John, and yes, Friar Tuck, all find their Welsh counterparts in Lawhead’s narrative. There is adventure and betrayal, battle and bravery, all beautifully told with an obvious depth of research and attention to detail.
After devouring Hood, I could hardly wait for Scarlet, the next installment which I also devoured (the best of three, in my opinion–you can read my “Really Good” review here). Upon devouring Scarlet, I was then forced once more to wait on the next (and final) chapter in the trilogy, Tuck, a wait that is now, finally, over!
Tuck continues the story of Bran, the heroic leader of the forest dwelling, arrow wielding outlaws intent on reclaiming their rightful land from the Normans. Tuck, as you might surmise, is told from the monk’s point of view and his role in the conclusion proves to be a significant one.
Perhaps because I had been so enthralled with Scarlet and thus my expectations were correspondingly so high, or maybe because of the lapse of time between Scarlet and Tuck, but I found myself a little—only just a little–disappointed with Tuck. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great story, one that can easily stand on its own apart from its predecessors. I was satisfied with the end and I’m really glad that I read it. I enjoyed it, just not quite as much as I anticipated. I will even recommend it to you, mainly because I absolutely love the trilogy as a whole.
If you’re looking for heroic adventure or perhaps something a little outside mainstream fiction, then I think you will really enjoy the King Raven trilogy. I know I did!
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….