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Hawk of May (Down the Long Wind) Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Hawk of May (Down the Long Wind) + In Winter's Shadow + Kingdom of Summer
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Product Details

  • Series: Down the Long Wind (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402240708
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402240706
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.
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"Fights, battles, loyalties, magic, wonder, family ties and so much more." - Night Owl Romance

"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." - Yankee Romance Reviewers

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

"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

"Hawk of May makes an excellent start to an unusual Arthurian trilogy. " - BookLoons.com

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

" This fantastical legend is a rich one, and I'm enjoying Gillian Bradshaw's presentation of it." - The Calico Critic

" 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

"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

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Customer Reviews

Ms. Bradshaw spins a wonderful Authurian yarn.
B. Howell
Be sure to read the second book- 'Kingdom of Summer' and then check out the final book of the series "In Winter's Shadow."
Julian P. Huff
Highly recommended for fans of Arthurian fiction!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Carol Dickman on 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 By S. E. Kennedy on November 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was a double winner for me. I bought it used on Amazon.com 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 By Tom Knapp VINE VOICE on 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 By Theresa Gauthier on June 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
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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