The story of Rhi Bran y Hud-Robin Hood-concludes as Abbot Hugo and the Norman invaders attempt to wipe out King Raven and his flock once and for all. Their merciless attack, the first of many to come, heralds a dark and desperate day for the realm of Elfael. Bran and his few stalwarts desperately need encouragement and reinforcement if they are to survive. But Friar Tuck, a most unconventional priest, has a daring solution to their dilemma that will radically alter all we've known about the legendary figure known as Robin Hood.
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"Tuck" is the third book of Stephen Lawhead's "King Raven Trilogy." In this book, Bran and his "Grellon" (the forest-dwelling people) make their final efforts to restore the kingdom to its rightful ruler - Bran himself. The fighting becomes more desperate, the Grellon suffer a division, and Friar Tuck has the heavy burden of responsibility placed on his shoulders. Of course, all turns out well in the end - but in a very unexpected and climactic way. In my opinion, this was the best book in this excellent trilogy. In fact, I believe the books got increasingly better. Parents should be warned that there is a good deal of violence and descriptions of gruesome deaths in this book, as well as some "crude" words that are not quite considered curses (but most Christian parents would not let their kids say them)! In addition, some Christians may find it difficult to reconcile the "righteousness" of Bran with the lying, drinking, stealing, and killing... However, if you do not let the moral and theological questions distract you, then you will find an engaging story in a wonderfully historical context. (We should not get our morals and theology from novels anyway...) There are some lovable new characters introduced, and some old characters do not survive to the end of the book (but you'll have to read it to find out who it is). I give it a whole-hearted 5 out of 5 stars!
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Review 2 for Tuck, King Raven Series #3
Date:January 2, 2010
I love Stephen Lawhead. He mixes a bit of history in with mythical. His characters are excellant well written. "Hood" and "Tuck" were the best of this series.
In Tuck, Stephen Lawheads third and final installment of his King Raven Trilogy, William the Red has reneged on his promise to restore Elfael to Bran Brychan, the rightful king. Bran and his flock flee back to the forest as Abbot Hugos men give chase. The rebels make it back safe, but Bran knows that something more must be done. The Normans are men without honor and will not listen to reason. And Brans band of rebels is not enough to overtake his Norman foes. Without some assistance, Bran will never manage to take back his throne. So Bran goes north to his kin to plead for assistance. There he finds Norman invaders have taken over this place as well. Bran weaves a plan to spring the rightful Welsh king from prison.This third volume in the King Raven Trilogy follows Friar Tuck, for the most part. My favorite scenes in this story were when Bran was masquerading as the Spaniard nobleman in an attempt to free the Welsh king from prison. I also enjoyed Tucks dialogue very much. Tuck leaves me wishing I could read a more of these characters. All were introduced back in the first book, but it wasnt until this book that I really felt connected to them all. Tuck is a fun story that would stand fine on its own, but is also a satisfying end to this trilogy.
I couldn't put this book down. I read the entire trilogy in less than a month. The only reason it took so long is I had to wait for the last book, "TUCK" to be released. Lawhead is an exceptionally interesting and riveting writer whose novels never disappoint. His Robin Hood series is doubly so because his presentation of the Robin Hood story is so unique. When you've finished reading it you feel as though you've indeed just read the real story of Robin Hood.
While going from really enjoying Hood and then to absolutely loving Scarlet it was no surprise that I was thoroughly impressed with Tuck. The first book in the series, Hood was told from a narrative standpoint outside the eyes of the main characters. The second, Scarlet was directly dictated by Scarlet himself. And lastly, the third, Tuck was narrated partially by Tuck and partially by an outside vision. The change in perspective through out the series was very unique to me and I felt that it made the series come more alive than it would have in a monotone narration.Though, I suppose one could read this book alone without having read the first two in the series. I would not suggest it because you will miss so much, however the bard's poetry through out in the beginning of each section does a wonderful job of recreating the tale. Having read the first two books over two years ago, I really loved having the reminder of the plot that I might have forgotten.Friar Tuck's final installation to the trilogy completes the story in a favorable manor that I could never have imagined. There is much action and battle, but also underlying romance from characters you would not have thought it possible. Easily, I would tell you that this story is about hope and perseverance. Journeys to other areas of the continent filled with excitement and disappointment as well build through out the story and give you encouragement to continuously turn the pages until there are no more.My one regret with this story is that it has ended. It was so good and so much fun to read that I cannot wait for future books filled with the imagination of Stephen Lawhead to become available. I highly recommend this book, but also the entire series as well. Go read the excerpts available on Lawhead's website and decide for yourself if it might be of interest. I doubt you will be disappointed.
It is an end worth fighting for, mused Bran. It may be for others to complete what weve begun, but there must be a beginning. (p. 334)Rhi Bran ap Brychan only wants restored what has been taken from him his kingship on the throne of Elfael. Red William has led the Ffreinic in a seemingly endless battle against a mysterious group of outlaws under the leadership of King Raven. When he finally decides he will not tolerate another moment of rebellion because he cannot afford the debt he must pay for the souls he has killed, a battle of epic proportions begins to form in the vale of Elfael.Throughout the story, there is a short, stout friar named Tuck who faithfully fulfills the requests made of him by his fearless leader Rhi Bran. He is asked several times to go face to face with the enemy and ask that peace be considered, only to have his life threatened and his leader defamed. Yet Tuck remains faithful to pray for Bran and those who fight by his side, and the Lord is faithful to answer Tucks prayers in some very unexpected ways!Although Tuck is the final book of Stephen Lawheads King Raven trilogy, it is a book that can be enjoyed on its own as well. I am almost embarrassed to admit that its my first introduction to Lawheads work, but you can be certain I am now a fan! Tuck absolutely transports the reader to another time and place, and from the opening sentence to the final page this epic story plays out in rich imagery, heroic daring and breathless chases! I couldnt help but laugh at Alan A Dale and his hilarious interpretations during Brans masquerade as Count Rexindo, and I wept at the loss suffered by Bran and Scarlet during one of the final battles. Truly, the King Raven trilogy is an epic tale, and I highly recommend it!
It is sometimes difficult to create a review of the final book in a trilogy. However, Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead, is easily read as a standalone novel. I imagine that the first two novels in this series (Hood and Scarlet) are also very capable of standing on their own. I have been a fan of medieval stories, and Robin Hood in particular, since I was a child. To experience Friar Tuck, the holiest of Robins Merry Men, in a new way is not only refreshing and educational, it will forever color how I see Friar Tuck in the future as I revisit old books and films. Thank you, Stephen Lawhead, for adding dimension and depth to a wonderful character that has become one of my favorites because of your effort.When I first noticed the pronunciation guide at the start of the book, I became wary of beginning this novel. But I was thoroughly impressed with Stephen Lawheads ability to create a medieval flavor without the confusing language. Then, when I read the poems at the beginning of each section, I saw the usefulness of the pronunciation guide, and really enjoyed reading these tomes aloud to enhance my reading experience and add credibility to the setting.From the lovely maps on the inside covers to the elegant header font and page numbers to the suspenseful story of Friar Tuck that is told within the pages, this novel is a class act!