About the book:
The Legend Begins Anew
For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting.
Hunted like an animal by Norman invaders, Bran ap Brychan, heir to the throne Elfael, has abandoned his father's kingdom and fled to the greenwood. There, in the primeval forest of the Welsh borders, danger surrounds him-for this woodland is a living, breathing entity with mysterious powers and secrets, and Bran must find a way to make it his own if he is to survive.
Like the forest itself, Hood is deep, dark, and at times savagely brutal-yet full of enchantment and hope. Internationally-acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead has created a lyrical rendering of a time-honored story that will lead you down strange pathways into another time and place.
A fascinating take on the Robin Hood legend. Stephen Lawhead has taken the story and set it in 1093 Wales. Bran ap Brychan is heir to the throne of Elfael. After his father's death and after his kingdom is overtaken by Norman invaders and the people enslaved, Bran flees and is presumed dead. He takes refuge in the forest near the Welsh border. Severely injured, Bran is nursed back to health by a mysterious, mystical old crone who convinces him that his duty and honor lie within Elfael. Bran soon finds himself the reluctant leader of those Elfael refugees who fled into the forest when the Normans arrived.
This first installment of the King Raven trilogy takes us through the early beginnings of the man who will be known as Robin Hood. We also meet Little John, Tuck and Merian. I hope that Little John, especially, gets more character development as his role was very minor here. Tuck is delightful and it will be interesting to see how Merian's character evolves as the story continues. A bit of mysticism blended with faith in God brings a richness to the story which I had not anticipated.
I've seen reviews that call the ending abrupt and the story slow, I didn't find this at all. Lawhead mixes English with Welsh and while some of the names, places and words were a bit difficult to understand, it didn't detract from the story. I appreciated the pronunciation guide provided at the end of the book.
Lawhead also provides an epilogue which explains his reasoning for setting the story in Wales and not in England. He provides historical examples of how the legend not only evolved but could have originated somewhere other than Nottingham in England.
Overall, an interesting, compelling story and a relatively easy read. I am anxious to see how the trilogy progresses.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.
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