Monday, November 26, 2007

CSFF Tour - Scarlet, Day 1

This month's CSFF tour is featuring the book Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead. As it is book two in the King Raven Trilogy, I thought it would be nice if somewhere in the tour there was a review of the first book, Hood.

Oh. I just happened to write one last year.

Today you get this review, and tomorrow I will provide my review of Scarlet. At the end of my post is the list of participants - make sure to check them out as well.

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).

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becca Johnson
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Mike Lynch
Karen McSpadden
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Lyn Perry
Deena Peterson
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise


  1. Excellent Thoughts. Thanks for addressing Hood before tackling Scarlet. I look forward to your thoughts on it, espcially since you consider Lawhead "streaky" - an opinion I share. (I hated Pendragon) but loved Merlin, etc.

  2. Thanks for sharing your review of Hood. I am actually only half-way through reading this excellent book, even though I am picking up Scarlet today.

    When I ordered it, the clerk thought I was asking for some sequel to "Gone With The Wind". Hah!

  3. Loved this review, Jason. I had read one that was fairly negative when Hood first came out, and I never looked at it for myself.

    Now that I've read Scarlet, I'm sorry I missed Hood. But it was good to hear from your perspective what I missed.


  4. I agree that not all his books are my favorites either. And not being British, I have no problem with the Welsh setting! It certainly seems like a volatile time period.