This blog post is in response to a comment/question from Steven Till, who runs a most excellent blog over at www.steventill.com. His blog is about, as his title says:
- Medieval History (Middle Ages History)
- Historical Fiction
- Fantasy Books
- Fantasy Novels
- Fantasy Writing
- Writing Fiction
All things my blog readers and I are fascinated by!
Hi Robert, I was looking for your review to Hood but couldn’t find it. I posted a review of Hood a while back on my site as well, and was curious to get your take on it. I haven’t gotten around to reading Scarlet yet. If you could recommend one series from Lawhead, which one would you choose? I like your site and have already subscribed to your blog. Thanks for stopping by my site earlier!
Thanks, Steve, for stopping by, and even subscribing. Wow. The reason you didn’t find my review of Hood is that I had read the book before I started my blog, and never got around to writing about it!
Alas, here’s my tardy thoughts on Hood:
- A very fascinating, orignal take to put Robin Hood in Wales. It does make a bit of sense, doesn’t it? Stephen’s critiques of the ballads is a little harsh, though, and I’m not sure if he’s fully justified sticking him in Wales based on the inconsistencies in the legends.
But even if Robin wasn’t Welsh, surely someone like him must have existed in Wales in just that time period of Norman conquest. So even if he’s not Robin, you have to say, well, this could have happened.
- The writing is excellent, barring the slow middle. The motivations of everyone is believable. The ending picks up nicely. Particularly, his introduction of Baron Neufmarche is masterful.
My daughter, Adele, is just so-so on the book, but that has a lot to do with her own research and strong opinions of Robin Hood.
Thanks for prodding me for a critique of Hood … very important with Tuck in my clutches and calling loudly to be read.
I do recommend Scarlet, as Scarlet’s portion of the book is in 1st person and very well written. Lawhead does some very creative things there.
Lawhead is at his best in his Song of Albion series (and I don’t think I’m in the minority in thinking this). A contemporary, portal fantasy, but he uses a lot of ancient historical stuff to ground the work. Highly recommended.
Byzantium was good as well. Haven’t read Patrick. I didn’t enjoy the Celtic Crusades as much. Not bad, but didn’t grab me.
Lawhead’s Arthurian work is excellent, particularly the first three, Taliesin, Merlin & Arthur. The latter books after these three suffer a bit, but they’re not bad, and I read them all, including Avalon, the contemporary Arthur novel where he comes back in modern day Britain.
p.s. I just read your more thorough review after writing my above notes … looks like we agree on quite a bit. That slow middle was probably important to Lawhead, as he seems to really enjoy bards and druids. They ground his historical works deeper in the past.