Book - 2007
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Presents a reimagining of the tale of Robin Hood in which the son of a king, Bran ap Brychan, flees the kingdom of Elfael after his father is killed and leads a band of thieves as they try to battle the Normans and take back the kingdom.
Publisher: Nashville, Tenn. : Thomas Nelson, [2007], c2006
ISBN: 9781595540881
Characteristics: 489 p. : map ; 22 cm


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May 02, 2015

Hood was a great novel to follow up The Fool's Tale, as it's set in Wales around the same time frame, so I had a context for the political backdrop. Which is not necessary to enjoy the book (and it does a fine job setting up the political turmoil). The book also has a pronunciation guide in the back, which was also helpful.

So this is, obviously, a retelling of the Robin Hood myth, except it's pretty plausible. Robin in this case is Bran, a hotheaded Welsh prince. And the backdrop is less Sheriff of Nottingham and more Norman/Saxon/French overlords seizing the property and lives of Britons. It is definitely historical fiction that borders on fantasy, as there's deeply furrowed mysticism (which makes me want to read ancient Briton mythology) that plays a crucial role in character development.

This also mostly follows Bran becoming the man he's destined to be, before he's the known outlaw, and before the appearance of an Allen a'Dale or Will Scarlet character (although Little John, Maid Marion, Guy of Gisbourne, and Friar Tuck are all in this story). The next book in the series is title Scarlet, so I suspect those other iconic characters will make their way into the narrative that way.

In all, it was enjoyable, both for the recognizable elements of the classic tale, and for the story of a hero coming of age. And because I'm developing a keen fondness for all things Cymry.

I recommend it for fans of historical fiction, especially during the medieval era, especially England and thereabouts. Also for fans of magical realism and mysticism, and ensemble casts.

bookfanatic1979 Jun 19, 2014

The Robin Hood legend lives again…this time in Wales. Subterfuge always amuses me in books, and I loved the encounters with “King Raven.” Having said that, this is a long book and I found some sections to be slower going than others. If you have the drive to finish it, you’ll be rewarded, but it does take a little determination.

JCLJaredH Apr 22, 2013

Robin Hood in Wales? No Sherwood Forest? I almost called this story blasphemy, but Stephen Lawhead makes it work. All of the familiar characters are there, but with a definite twist. The mixing of Welsh mythology and Christian undertones brings a mystic quality to the story that makes it hard to put down. A great read for fans of Bernard Cornwell and Mary Stewart.

Feb 13, 2011

This is the retelling of the Robin Hood story told from a Welsh point of view. The Welsh were the true experts in the long bow and according to historical accounts they truely did have wild forests.

kpalichuk Apr 08, 2010

I'm so glad that i rediscovered this author. This was an engaging retelling of the Robin Hood tale, set in Wales. Great characterization and I couldn't put it down.

Mar 29, 2010

Both fans of Lawhead and readers not familiar with his body of work will be enthralled by this retelling of a classic legend. Filled with engaging characters, Lawhead's gritty version of the Robin Hood story is set in medieval Wales where there is no lack of battles, feudalistic politicking, and faith. Well-written in his signature mood, Lawhead presents a rollicking good tale that any fan of the author, Robin Hood or medieval fantasy/fiction will enjoy.

Jan 08, 2007

I had never heard of Stephen Lawhead before coming across this title at Costco, where the cover and title at once grabbed my attention. I was intrigued by the fact he set the story in Wales, and learned things I did not know about the primeval forest that was there. As to the story itself, A in my book. Good characterization and flawless pacing. Now one reviewer on Amazon thought it bogged down in the middle, and another thought the whole first half was something to be got through, but I had no such reaction to this work. He has managed to take the Robin Hood myth and make it feel brand new, and leave plenty to unfold for future volumes -- I, for one, can't wait for those!


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