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Hawk of May (Down the Long Wind Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Gillian Bradshaw
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Intelligent and imaginative...even the magic convinces."

-Mary Renault, author of The King Must Die

On The Path Toward Greatness, Every Hero Makes a Choice

Legends sing of Sir Gawain, one of the most respected warriors of King Arthur's reign and one of the greatest champions of all time. But this is not that story. This is the story of Gwalchmai, middle son of the beautiful, infinitely evil sorceress Morgawse, and gifted student of her dark magical arts. A story of an uncertain man, doubting his ability to follow his elder brother's warrior prowess and seeking to find his own identity by bonding with his frightening and powerful mother. Disappointed in himself and despised by his father, Gwalchmai sets out on a journey that will lead him to the brink of darkness...

A tale of loss, redemption, and adventure, Hawk of May brings new depth and understanding to Sir Gawain, the legend of King Arthur, and the impact of choices made-and the consequences that follow.

"A welcome new light on the horizon of popular Arthurian legend...delightful...a strong sense of love and mysticism...a ripping adventure tale."


"Will appeal to those who have enjoyed Tolkien's works."

-Library Journal

"Compelling...splendid...vibrant...exhilarating...a novel that seduces us into accepting sorcery and sanctity in King Arthur's England."

-New York Times Book Review

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    Bradshaw's Hopwood-winning series starter returns to shelves 30 years after its original release. Gwalchmai, aka the legendary warrior Gawain, tells the story of how he came to King Arthur's court. In boyhood, he studied sorcery with his mother, Morgawse, nearly falling under the spell of darkness before devoting himself to the light. He believes the powers of good want him to follow Arthur, but his path is blocked first by enemy Saxons and then by the king's own rejection. Bradshaw paints a Roman Arthur, determined to rebuild the fallen empire, against a backdrop of Irish mythology. Gwalchmai is an honest narrator who allows hindsight to creep in only rarely; his voice is simple and earnest. Written when the author was a teen, this engaging and enchanting retelling of the Arthur legend will appeal to adults and younger readers alike.
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Fights, battles, loyalties, magic, wonder, family ties and so much more. (Night Owl Romance 20100913)

    Courage, darkness, magic, cruelty and kindness, justice and liberation... all the things that you have come to relish in the tales of King Arthur and his brave knights. (Terra Yankee Romance Reviewers 20100915)

    A brilliantly told fantasy novel swirling in the mythical land of King Arthur's Britain... A must read for Arthurian legend fans. (Alaine Queen of Happy Endings 20100915)

    The book is stock full of adventure, magic, and struggles and leaves you feeling like you are one of King Arthur's retinue. (The Book Tree 20100920)

    Hawk of May makes an excellent start to an unusual Arthurian trilogy. (Hilary Williamson 20100920)

    compelling and magical. The character of Gwalchmai pops off the pages and shines... Beautifully descriptive, a must read for any Arthurian fan. (Anna Anna's Book Blog 20100922)

    This fantastical legend is a rich one, and I'm enjoying Gillian Bradshaw's presentation of it. (Laura The Calico Critic 20100929)

    Gillian's a truly talented writer with an amazing ability to entertain. I can't wait to read the other two books in this trilogy! (Readaholic 20101101)

    Bradshaw has done an excellent job of making Irish mythology and the legends of King Arthur come to life. (Debbie's Book Bag )

    What a great writer Gillian Bradshaw is... one of the most vivid books I've read in ages. (She Read a Book )

    Beautifully written, great characters and a wonderful story for anyone of any age. ( )

    Product Details

    • File Size: 1479 KB
    • Print Length: 368 pages
    • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B003YFJ4VE
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,121 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.2 out of 5 stars
    4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Written Arthurian Fantasy May 18, 2000
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    I am disappointed that this novel is currently out of print, as it is one of the better written of the Arthurian novels. The first Gillian Bradshaw novel I have read, this will not the be last.
    The Hawk of May is Gwalchmai, son of Lot (possibly) and Morgawse, sister of Arthur and daughter of recently deceased High King Uther. At the beginning of the novel, Gwalchmai has met neither of his more famous relatives, but he knows that both are greatly hated by his parents. Gwalchmai, more familiar to students of Arthurian romances as Gawain, is here the middle son, between his older brother Agravain, and his younger brother (and definitely not the son of Lot) Medraut. Gaheris, normally Agravain's twin, and Gareth are noticeably absent in this rendition. Unlike Agravain, Gwalchmai is not good at the manly arts of war. He is a gifted bard and horseman, but the Celts have not yet adopted battle on horseback yet. Gwalchmai is disappointed in himself and he knows that Lot and Agravain despise him. Finally deciding that he will never be man enough to be a warrior, Gwalchmai agrees to study the black arts from his mother, and discovers that he has a talent for them. He hates his choice, and desperately tries to protect his beloved younger brother, Medraut from them. Medraut, unlike Gwalchmai, has demonstrated that he will be an excellent warrior. When Gwalchmai realizes he failed in preventing Medraut from taking up the black arts, Gwalchmai flees his father's palace, and after a meeting with the forces of the Light, Gwalchmai decides to become one of Arthur's followers.
    Until this point, the book is fascinating and can't be put down. Gwalchmai's meeting with his ancestor, Lugh, is one of the best written set ups for the Celtic Otherworld I have read in a while.
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    15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A new look at the sons of Lot November 1, 2003
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    This book was a double winner for me. I bought it used on for about $1 and it was GREAT! I liked the new perspective on the sons of King Lot. If you are familiar with the basics of Arthurian legend, you know King Lot's sons have played key roles in the legends in one form or the other. They go by different names, the quantity of sons differs occassionally, as does the name of their mother. In this case, there are 3 boys mothered by Morgawse and fathered by...???...well, raised by King Lot. Hawk of May focuses on the second son...Gwalchamai or "Hawk of May". In perhaps typical middle child uncertainty, he doubts his ability to follow his elder brothers warrior prowess and seeks his own identity by bonding with his beautiful yet frightening mother. However, the author takes us to the brink of darkness and sorcery only to deliver Gwalchamai to a more divine destiny. The journey is not nearly that simple, however.
    The book is an enticing and enjoyable read. The author provides a beneficial note on the pronounciation of the Welsh spellings used and I found them to be not the least bit daunting. In fact, I liked the change to an otherwise very familiar legend. I found that the name and location variances kept me from "assuming" I knew where the story was headed. I like the author's descriptions of key characters and was excited that Guenevere received barely a nod in this book with no sign of Lancelot yet. Too many authors put too much into the love triangle and miss the mark when describing Arthur. Bradshaw has done a marvelous job...I found myself torn between disliking Arthur and sharing in the feeling of awe that he inspired amongst his men and his people.
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    11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Gawain as we've never seen him before. January 27, 2003
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    Much of the book adheres to a style of historical realism I find compelling. At times, unfortunately, it clashes with the overuse of magical elements -- I would have preferred a Gwalchmai who didn't need a magical sword, a magical horse and magical guidance to become a hero. And, oddly, this Arthurian story is packed with sorcery and yet has no Merlin -- I suppose Bradshaw thought we'd be content with Taliesin, chief bard to Arthur and a member of the Sidhe -- nor does Morgan le Fey make an appearance.
    The book's only other failing is a tendency to be a little too "talky" at times, wandering far afield as Gwalchmai wrestles with his internal darkness and ponders the nature of Light and religion. But the action, when it occurs, is well handled.
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    14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing at best June 22, 2011
    I have a tendency to read anything that is even remotely connected to Arthurian legends, so I snapped up this book immediately hoping for a new angle on the familiar legend since the cover clearly indicates this is Sir Gawain's story. I cannot begin to describe the depths of my disappointment. The story is tedious at best and becomes quickly bogged down in its own distinctions of right and wrong and sorcery and Light and Darkness to the point of seeming more like a sermon than an entertaining tale. The characters are predictable to an extent beyond them just being based on familiar legend, and truly there is little to distinguish one from another. The story goes nowhere, and the number of typographical errors (a repeated sentence at one point!) makes it irritating to read. If you're truly looking for a captivating version of the King Arthur legend, I'd suggest reading Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 1) instead of this.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Arthurian Fiction about One of His Knnight's - Gwalchmai
    What fun! I haven't read any Arthurian legend in a long time. Having a book written about one of the knights is fabulous. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
    1.0 out of 5 stars Quite boring
    Quite boring. The writing is strange. I couldn't even finish it.
    Published 5 months ago by MC
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Ended too soon.
    Published 7 months ago by Brenda
    4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
    For those that read fantasy or even fiction in general, this is an entertaining, well-crafted, and relatable book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
    Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale.
    Ms. Bradshaw spins a wonderful Authurian yarn. Her story telling seamlessly flows through the British Isle and maintains honesty to the history surrounding Britania during this... Read more
    Published on March 20, 2013 by B. Howell
    5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Reading
    This may be a biased review as I am a fan of British Legendary Figures. I enjoyed this book as I read it as a history and not as fictitious story. Read more
    Published on March 6, 2013 by Charlie
    4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
    Nice take on one of the legends - easy to read and worth picking up the rest of the series
    Published on February 3, 2013 by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series;
    I'm on my 3rd of the series and I can't put it down. Language is accurate and very interesting. Read the whole series!
    Published on January 23, 2013 by SFWINO
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Hawk of May
    Excellent and exciting blend of fantasy and history. I highly recommend this novel. In this first of three novels, Gillian Bradshaw tells the story of Gwalchmal, aka Gawain, son... Read more
    Published on January 20, 2013 by David R. Addleman
    4.0 out of 5 stars I read the book
    a story of honor and integrity. Wish it had a dragon in the story line, but it did't. Easy Kindle download.
    Published on January 20, 2013 by noracan
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