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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tuck...Review

About the book:
"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. Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of King Raven--bringing him much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced to take matters into his own hands as King Raven. Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, he ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

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. Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Lawhead's trilogy conjures up an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.


Absolutely wonderful. The story is told, in part, from the perspective of Friar Tuck. However, it is still a third-person narrative rather than a first-person like Scarlet. Tuck's role in this third novel is much more significant. And the idea that a humble priest can have such an impact on the lives of everyone around him, including the King of England is important.

Tuck picks up right where Scarlet leaves off, with Bran and his followers leaving the King, after the King has gone back on his promise of justice and returning Elfael to Bran. Bran vows revenge and he is darker here than he has been in the previous books. He's angry and not quite as compassionate as he has been before. He kills a bit easier, as he exacts his revenge on the Normans, Sheriff de Glanville and Abbot Hugo, who was given control of Elfael by King William.

The killings here are just as numerous and brutal as they are in the previous books. But, when the Normans stumble into Cel Craidd, tragedy strikes in a heart-breaking way.

Through it all, Friar Tuck stands by Bran's side. Faithful to the end, he does what is asked of him, all the while praying and guiding Bran's Grellon. That it is Tuck who manages to convince the King to do the right thing isn't a surprise, once you've come to know this wise little priest.

In this book, we also meet Alan a'Dale, a minstrel who joins Bran and his followers. The chapters begin with Alan's songs, which tell the tale of Rhi Bran y Hud. Alan is a delightful addition to the Grellon and a faithful supporter of Bran.

Lawhead, as he has done in the previous books, provides an epilogue which details more of the history and shows how minstrels moved from place to place, influencing the people they met. Their songs started in one place and as they moved around the country, were adapted and changed according to the area and the people. Thus, while one song started in Wales, about a man named Bran, a sheriff called de Glanville and King William, it could eventually be sung in England about Robin, a sheriff in Nottingham and King John.

A terrific end to a fascinating trilogy. Easy to read, enthralling and captivating.

Thanks to First Wild Card for the opportunity to review this book. You can find out more about Stephen Lawhead here. You can read the first chapter here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 2/09

* * * *

4/5 Stars

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