Friday, April 16, 2010

Hood, by Stephen R. Lawhead

I enjoyed this first installment of the King Raven trilogy retelling of the Robin Hood story.

Stephen Lawhead focuses a lot of his fiction on Celtic myth, and this Robin Hood version is no different. As Lawhead explains in the book, the Robin Hood myth was very widely used and interpreted in the British Isles--something of an Everyman myth. Lawhead decided to interpret Robin Hood as a deposed Welsh prince during the times of the Franks/Normans' recent conquest of England and the start of their conquest of Wales.

Lawhead is immaculate and detailed in his Welsh backdrop, making for the most convincing Robin Hood version I've ever read/seen. The details of language, lifestyle, castle construction/use, armory, agriculture, etc., enrich the story.

His characters are gray, and Robin Hood himself is frustrating at times, even a Nancy boy, until he comes into his own. Friar Tuck, Little John, and the capricious Marian are delightful characters, somewhat different in their usually perceived roles (as is well manifested by Marian especially).

The book is not a standalone, as it ends in preparation for book two, even though it does have a natural climax and preceding rising action.

Baron Neufmarsh is one of the more interesting gray characters, someone who seems traitor and friend to the protagonist at times. I'm riveted on what Lawhead will do with him in the two novels to come.

Hood is a pleasant read for those Anglophiles who enjoy British history with relish while also delving into the legends surrounding the Isles.

Hood, by Stephen R. Lawhead. 2006. Thomas Nelson. 512 pp. $7.99 (PB).

King Raven Series:



  1. Anglophiles? This is a family friendly blog, Kirk. Watch your language :)

    Really, though, the book sounds like a fun read. I might have to check it out.

  2. I think there's a new Robin Hood movie coming out soon with Russel Crowe in it. In fact, here's the link:

  3. Ooh. I'm intrigued. Thanks, Kirk!

  4. See, Deb . . . Linda's a Hoodophile.

    P.S. L. T. I was looking at some work one of our editors had done with a Judy Olsen book and noticed your story was in it. Way to go!

  5. I feel sooo bad for all the women named Nancy. What a sad misuse of names . . . kinda like people misusing DJ in rap music :)

    Really, I loved that you called him a Nancy boy.

    Could I handle it? It sounds cool.

  6. I've read this whole trilogy, it's very satisfying--a buffet of a Robin Hood story, simmered in a lot of history and culture. Scarlet (book 2) was my favorite. Hood was a great intro, Scarlet carried the ball, and Tuck drove it home wonderfully.

  7. I think you could handle it, DJ. There is some medieval army violence (a few stabby-stabs), but other than that it is completely tame.

    Graham, thanks again for the recommendation (you're the one who pointed me toward the Raven King series).