Published in: 2006
Edition read: paperback
Book #: King Raven book 1
The Norman conquest of England is complete – but for one young man the battle has only just begun. When Bran’s father is murdered by Norman soldiers, he flees to London, seeking justice. The journey is long and hard – and the suffering of those he meets along the way fuels his anger.
With his demands dismissed, Bran has no choice but to return home, where a worse fate awaits him. His lands have been confiscated and his people enslaved by a brutal and corrupt regime.
Should Bran flee or protect his people by surrendering to his father’s murderers? The answer, perhaps, is known only to the Raven King – a creature of myth and magic born of the forest’s darkest shadows.
This book took me a while to get through as it has a lot of story building to get through, which can get tedious at times. Yet you need all that in order to understand that this isn’t the usual Robin Hood story, but rather a unique take on the legend, setting it in Wales with a slew of familiar and unfamiliar characters. It took me a bloody long time to realise that “Iwan” was pronounced “John” and even longer to connect him to being Little John (seriously, like half the book had passed before I made that connection). And there’s these characters that aren’t in the usual legend, like Angharad, who gives purpose to the rise of the legend, in the stories she tells Bran while nursing him back to health, but when she first turns up it’s a bit of “Who are you and why are you here?”.
The story itself, it was pretty good. There were chases and arrows flying and mischievous deeds as King Raven terrorises the woodlands, and it was good, it was just slow to get through with the unfamiliar language and terms and trying to make connections to the legend I knew. Towards the end, it gets easier as everything starts to make sense.
It’s a good read, you just have to stick with it through some of the slower parts and have an open mind in order to accept the legend being different to what you expect.
Hood rating: 7.5/10
Would I re-read it? Maybe, I think having read through once I will be better able to grasp the terms and variation of the legend, making it easier to read.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of historical fiction, action and adventure stories, have an interest in the Robin Hood legends.
Author’s website: http://www.stephenlawhead.com/king-raven-trilogy/hood
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hood-stephen-r-lawhead/1100327342