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The Silver Hand: Book Two in The Song of Albion Trilogy Paperback – September 5, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
This charming second volume in the Song of Albion series follows an exiled bard and a sojourning Oxford student as they flee a malevolent despot and build a city of refuge for the oppressed.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Book two of Lawhead's Song of Albion trilogy (following The Paradise War). Once again, the most appealing feature is Lawhead's respectful reworking of Celtic source material; much less convincing are his plotting and motivations, not to mention a distracting narrative switch. Now, after new narrator and bard Tegid crowns warrior Llew (the previous narrator, originally from our world), the evil Meldron usurps the kingship by striking off Llew's right hand (the king, you see, must be unblemished) and blinds Tegid. Soon, all Llogres falls to Meldron's warriors; then he invades the Isle of the White Rock to slaughter Albion's bards- -they wave their staffs but otherwise offer no resistance; then he attacks and, with ridiculous ease, defeats the warrior training- school on the Isle of Sci. Llew and Tegid flee to Caledon, where they found Dinas Dwr, a city in a lake, to stand against Meldron's hordes. Soon the poison blight foreseen by the dead bards engulfs the land; eventually Meldron shows up and defeats Llew's forces; but Llew, now condemned to die, instead acquires a magical silver hand, overthrows Meldron, accepts the kingship, and recaptures the vital Singing Stones that sustain the good powers of Albion. Agreeable Celtic lore distended by much huffing and puffing, and by magical events whose explanations (if any) must be taken on faith. A slack and uneven installment. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Stephen R. Lawhead is an exception to that rule. The world that Lawhead builds is so expansive, imaginative, unique, and captivating that it propels the reader along in spite of his pretentious writing style. I found myself captivated by the story enough to overlook the way it was being told, and struggled through the book enough to enjoy it in spite of itself.
Unlike the predecessor, this novel is told from the view of Tegid. And unlike the whiny, useless, sniveling excuse of a secondary character he was in The Paradise War , Tegid finds himself helping Llew lead his ragtag band of adventurers into rebellion and the establishment of a new kingdom. However, true to Lawhead's shortcomings, Tegid continues to speak in prophecy, riddles, and expository "songs" that leave the reader suddenly wondering how they ended up at Sunday Mass with grandma again. Tegid is just not a character that I find relateable, but as the Chief Bard of the land, maybe that speaks more to my predisposition against the keepers of folklore and religious teachings than the development of Tegid himself.
What I can say with relative authority is that Tegid is seen as a much stronger and likeable character than he was in the first novel, and he actually exists for some reason other than to get on the readers' nerves and whine about every decision his charges make. Unfortunately, Llew seems to take on the role of apathetic supporting actor, and I found myself wondering why he existed at all, if not to be drug kicking and screaming into the fulfillment of some prophecy I skimmed over during a five page expositional essay.
All of the complaints aside, I do have to reaffirm my enjoyment of Lawhead's Albion world. It's large and the conflicts seem real and relatable. I only wish the author could get out of his story's way.