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Hood (King Raven Trilogy, Book 1) Hardcover – September 5, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 240 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the King Raven Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lawhead (Byzantium), known for his historical and fantasy fiction, reimagines the tale of Robin Hood in his latest novel, the first in the King Raven Trilogy. Based on detailed research, Lawhead places the folk hero (whom he names Bran) in Wales in 1093, at a time when the land was under constant assault from the new Norman rulers of England. When Bran's father, the king, is killed in an ambush along with nearly all his warriors, the land of Elfael is overtaken and its citizens subjected to great oppression. Though Bran should be king, he has lost faith (in both himself and whatever God he once knew) and decides to flee instead. Through agony and adventure, aided by a ragtag group of colorful characters, his sense of justice grows, along with his commitment to leading the people of Elfael and his creative strategies for dealing with the enemy. Lawhead examines questions of faith from both sides of the conflict, so readers see Welsh monks praying for deliverance and Norman rulers asserting their divine right to the land. The story's tone is uneven—by turns sweet, violent, and funny—and it gets a bit bogged down in the middle, but overall it's a fun read that will leave readers anxious for the next installment. (Sept. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The first in a trilogy called King Raven, Hood tells the story of an alternative Robin Hood, a rebel in the deep forests of Wales in 1093. (Lawhead's extensive research convinced him of this premise.) Son of a king, a young man named Bran is made homeless when his father is killed and the kingdom of Elfael becomes a pawn to squabbling Norman factions. A long and fascinating time in the wilderness, in which Bran's faith and health are restored by an old woman of mystical origins, brings him at last to his destiny: leading a band of dauntless archers against the kingdom's usurpers. Robin Hood is born, along with Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, and Little John, in this highly imaginative, earthy adventure that has little to do with Errol Flynn but is just as rousing. John Mort
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: King Raven Trilogy, Book 1 (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595540857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595540850
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #607,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gavin Ellis on August 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Lawhead is doing for Robin Hood what he did for King Arthur in The Pendragon Cycle. You have heard the legends, you have watched the movies, now you can see a realistic portrayal.

It seems that Lawhead is at his best when talking about the Britons of Wales and in this book he takes Robin Hood and puts him in Wales in the 11th century. It works! In an afterward Stephen Lawhead explains his reasoning for this, but I just like that he is able tell a familiar story in a totally unique and different way.

The story pulls you in right away, though it takes it a while to resemble the Robin Hood legends you have heard. The characters are real and even the villains are shown as real people and you even see them questioning their actions. I received the book about a week ago, devoured it, and it left me wanting more. Thankfully, this is the first book in a trilogy.

What else can I say. This is Lawhead at his best. It is remeniscent of the Pendragon Cycle in that it is re-defining legends we already have heard, but it bases them in a real world that comes alive. It is remeniscent of "The Silver Hand" as the main character works from a hidden base, a place he lives with a group of followers. And, like the best of Lawhead, the spirituality doesn't beat you over the head but rather becomes a part of the fabric of the world you are reading about. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Lawhead's books are arrows in his quiver, and he has let fly over the years with some remarkably true weapons. "Byzantium" was a shot to the soul. The "Song of Albion Series" and "The Iron Lance" stopped me in my tracks. On the other hand, I barely got the point of "Patrick."

When I heard there was a retelling of Robin Hood in the works, I thought: What better man for the job than Stephen Lawhead! And, thankfully, the book confirms that idea. "Hood" gives us the story of Bran ap Brychan, a reluctant prince who tries to buy back his dead father's land from corrupt English rulers, only to find himself running for his own life. At the hands of an old crone, he discovers a connection to legend and a calling to his people. Along the way, he meets Friar Tuck (a wonderfully memorable character) and Little John (given less stage time than I would've liked). We also see the maiden Marien. Although some reviewers seem to have found the story's religious and political intrigues to drag, I enjoyed them. And some of the fight scenes and spooky forest encounters are magical.

"Hood" is told with Lawhead's attention to detail, yet with a streamlined style. My chief complaint, if any, is the hurried resolution and epilogue. Yes, there's a lot of material here for the continued trilogy, but I still would've liked a more complete ending in this first volume. That said, I'll be rushing out for the sequel when it arrives. This is perfect material for Lawhead's gifts, and he let's this arrow fly.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read fifty or sixty nonfiction books already this year, I began to crave some lighter, easier reading. And, in a case of great timing, an Advance Reader Copy of Stephen Lawhead's Hood arrived in the mail just a few days ago. Lawhead, known for writing fantasy and historical fiction, has set his sights on the greatest of the English heroes, Robin Hood. But rather than simply retelling the oft-told story, he has re imagined Robin Hood and has attempted to arrive at the source for this great story. This is a "completely re-imagined epic of the man known as Robin Hood--told in a far more earthy, eerie and elemental way than ever before." In a lengthy appendix to the book, the author explains his belief that the story of Robin Hood may well have originated in Wales and provides ample proof that this just may be the case.

And so it is that the story of Hood is set not in Sherwood Forest, as we might expect, but in the dense, primeval forests of Wales. The son of a minor Welsh king, Bran ap Brychan finds his world torn apart when his father and his father's army are massacred, leaving the young prince to ascend the throne. But, fearing for his life, Bran is forced to flee. He eventually wanders into the forest and establishes himself as king of those who have fled before him into the safety of the woods. He is a disturbed and flawed hero, but one who begins to grow into his legend as a hero who fought on behalf of the poor, displaced and persecuted. The usual cast of characters, Marian, Little John and Friar Tuck are all worked into the story, though once again, not in the way we've come to expect. The villains, also different from what we've seen in book and film, are well-crafted and not so evil that they are unbelievable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The year is 1093. The King of England is William II, aka William the Red, and the Normans are plotting their further control over English territories. And Wales becomes the screwed over battleground. Thus starts our adventures with Bran ap Brychan and his "merrymen."

Hood a tale that re-imagines the lore of Robin Hood not as English but as Welsh. If you're like me, the only thing you know about Robin Hood is from the Looney Toons or Disney's anthropomorphic version, i.e., limited. There's also Errol Flynn and Kevin Costner's interpretation of Robin Hood of which I've never seen. And there's Russell Crowe's Robin Hood which I suppose is forgetful because I recall nothing of it, but I digress.

Going into this with limited knowledge of Robin Hood, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. The character development of our protagonist was great; slow building but by the end of the novel a fist pump is in order, especially be the end of the epilogue. The characterisations of the antagonists are grand as well; you hate them with varying degrees of odiousness. However, as much as I loved the protagonist, Bran, I found myself having more affection towards the supporting characters behind Bran. If one of those characters gets written off, I may or may not become emo-devastated.

By the end of Book One, the tone has been set and the intrigue established leading into Book Two.

With an open mind and open to genres, I don't think you can do wrong with Hood . There's a certain realism with the setting and environments presented to the reader. The fantasy portion seems to be steeped in Albion folklore/fairy tales and not necessarily, "I cast magic missile on your ass." I wouldn't necessarily call this a "must read" book, but something to add to the queue should the genre fit your mood.
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