CSFF Tour – Tuck Day 1

What, me worried?

Time again for the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour. The featured book this month is Tuck, the latest book from Stephen Lawhead and the finale of the King Raven Trilogy.

Who is King Raven?

None other than the legend Robin Hood, reimagined by Lawhead as a Welsh prince called Rhi Bran y Hud, trying to repel Norman invaders from his homeland, with a little help from some familiar characters. If this seems a little controversial, see this article from a London news site.

The worried part is that this blog tour is coming at a bad time for me, as we are moving into our new house this weekend. I wondered what I could contribute in limited time, but thank goodness for preparedness, as I had written reviews of the previous two books in the series (it’s not plagerism if I’m copying myself). So, to quote myself, here’s my review of the first book in the series, Hood.
From December ’06:
Most of the books I review are through the two blogging groups I belong to. I keep busy enough with those books, but I do venture out to the library for other stories. One I read this fall that I enjoyed very much was Hood, by Stephen Lawhead.

He seems to be a streaky writer. He’ll have a very strong story followed by one that loses my interest quickly. I was very interested in his new King Raven trilogy, but would it catch my attention and hold it?

Thankfully, yes.

Hood is a re-imaging of the Robin Hood legend. And not of the Kevin Costner variety. I am sure there are many aficionados on this subject out there who might begin to argue with Lawhead’s premise, but I think he will quickly short-circuit any criticism. He sets the story in Wales instead of England, during the time when the French (Ffreinc) control England and are encroaching into Welsh territory. As a point of interest, he gives an appendix that discusses his research and choice of scenery.

Bran ap Brychan is a spoiled lout of a prince when his harsh father is cut down by the troops of a Norman count. As a fugitive he is almost killed, but is saved by a withered old woman whose mysteries both repulse and intrigue the young lord. As he is nursed to health, he catches a vision of what he could become.

Meanwhile, political intrigue is stirring in the land, which may include a young woman named Merian. Will Rhi Bran follow his destiny and free his lands and people from their cruel masters? How will he overcome the invading forces of the Ffreinc?

The book will appeal to fans of historical fiction, action tales, and fantasy alike. Lawhead has a gift for tales of British folklore, and Hood is the perfect subject for him to tackle. He catches your attention quickly with tragedy and discovery. You will come across familiar faces set in new ways – and in this prepare to be enchanted! He does a fun turn with some of the famous Robin Hood supporting cast.

The turning of Bran’s character is thoughtful and inspiring. The wickedness he is up against is a good foil – you’re ready to root against the enemy. But you don’t always know who the enemy is either. The book does slow a little in the middle, but it does not disappoint. The ending leaves you hanging and anxious for book 2 (Scarlet).

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