Monday, May 18, 2009

Major Twists on an old Tale.

by Stephen Lawhead

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I've never read a Stephen Lawhead book before, though I have Hood and other books in my 'to read' stack. Not finding time to read his books before now is my loss. Tuck, third in the King Raven series, follows the adventures of the good friar during the 11th century as he helps Rhiban Hud both politically and spiritually. Rhiban's lady love is Merian. Marshall Guy de Gysburne works along side the Sheriff de Glanville to serve the whims of Abbot Hugo. Names throughout the book sound almost familiar to the often heard tale of Robin Hood. Tuck even contains a couple of pronunciation pages. To get you in the spirit of the trilogy, on Lawhead's site, you can find actual audio links to hear the way certain words should sound.

The careful eye to detail for the countryside and the period by Lawhead shows through as he weaves his tale around the characters. The tale of Bran and his followers' quest to recapture Caer Cardarn and Elfael sounds plausiable, even considering the odds stacked against them each step of the way. But as Tuck points out, "when God is with you, who may stand against you?"
One of the many things I enjoyed about Tuck, is how the characters play off each other in the story. Not everyone blindly follows Bran, or Rihiban, as he commands the freedom forces.

Unlike some of the Robin Hood movie characters, no battalion of merry men hide out in the deep forest without worry of capture. Rhiban Hud in Tuck is closest to the BBC Robin Hood version, from what the characters sound like online, than most other versions. Bran doesn't always know the right answer, but he is willing to take the steps needed to help his people and family. Bran's decisions aren't always popular, but through it all Tuck supports his friend and leader.

Tomorrow's Day 2 blog review discusses the issue of faith in the forrest.

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Christopher Hopper said...

I like how you pointed out that Bran doesn't always know what the right call is. I find it refreshing when the hero feels a little more like--well--me! Flawed! ch:

Fantasythyme said...

I'm not up for the meeting test on your blog, but I enjoyed Tuck. After the tour finishes I need to start reading my other Stephen Lawhead books. I didn't realize he moved to England to study the Welsh countryside. After reading in your review how Lawhead moved the story from Nottingham to Wales, I wonder if his Pendragon series occurs in Wales too.


Keanan Brand said...

I haven't caught the newest BBC version, but I remember the one filmed in the '80s. I enjoyed the characters and the dialogue, but the series was infused with New Age concepts and ancient Druidic and pagan ideas "updated" with a strong dose of creepy. However, I watched every episode, which is just a testament to how much a hold the Robin Hood myth has over my imagination.

Fantasythyme said...

I've heard about the 1980's Robin Hood, but didn't have a chance to catch those. The new BBC Robin Hood may return to be BBC America this year. In this version of the legend, a small band of supporters fight along side Robin for King Richard. Like Tuck, the characters are gritty, down to earth, believable people.