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King Raven Books In Order

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Publication Order of King Raven Books

“The King Raven” trilogy is a series of historical and midieval novels that are based around the legend of Robin Hood that were written by Stephen R. Lawhead. In this series, the novels take place in Wales, and not Sherwood Forest in Nottingham. Additionally, the series is set after the Battle of Hastings and late in the eleventh century (in the year 1093). Lawhead did this so that it would be around the same time of the Norman invasion of Wales and other historical events that happened during that time.

With the “King Raven” trilogy, Stephen R. Lawhead continues what he started with “Pendragon Cycle” and the stand alone novel called “Patrick: Son of Ireland”, where he reimagines popular myths and puts them in harsh and realistic settings. He also incorporates Celtic mythology and the political intrigue that was found in Britain during the medieval period.

This series will challenge what you thought you knew about Robin Hood as a person, and it might just make you rethink everything that you thought you knew about the legendary archer. Not to mention all of the other people that were associated with him. He does not go by the name Robin Hood in this trilogy (instead his name is King Raven), and the men that follow him are very far from merry.

In these books, you will see Robin Hood (or King Raven, as he is known in these) go from royalty, to living in the forest, to leader of a group that gets things, supported by Friar Tuck, and later being hunted by the Sheriff de Glanville (the Sheriff of Notingham). You will see things that fit with what the myths all say about Robin, but there will be deviations too.

“Hood” is the first novel in the “King Raven” trilogy that came out in 2006. Bran ap Brychan (heir to the Elfael throne) is being hunted like an animal, and has had to flee from his father’s kingdom and gone to the forest. Near the Welsh borders is the primeval forest where he sees dangers all around him. As if the Norman invaders were not bad enough, now he has the creatures in this forest to battle now too. There are puzzling secrets and powers here in the forest, and Bran must find a way to make it home so that he can survive here.

Fans of the novel found that there was a lot to like about this book. One reason was due to the fact that Lawhead does not just dumb things down for readers and give them a happily ever after. Some enjoyed the realistic aspects of the novel that include getting to know the characters and events. Other fans liked that Lawhead gives the readers a history lesson on top of an excellent read. Some felt that the characters and story were well drawn and really kept things moving throughout. Fans found that he does a great job talking about Britons in Wales and this seems to be him in his comfort zone. The novel pulls readers in quickly and makes them want more. For those expecting the legend of Robin Hood, this novel does not have a whole lot of that. Those that like the novel say that the novel the first part of a very large narrative, and readers should keep that in mind while reading the novel, as it might be a little slow for some.

Some did not like the execution of the novel, finding that it did not do the premise any justice at all. Some found that the novel did not leave much of an impact on them once they had finished it. There were readers who thought that the novel read more like a history book and not a novel. Something felt like it missing from the novel for some, and invoked an indifferent reaction from some readers.

“Scarlet” is the second novel in the “King Raven” trilogy that came out in 2007. Will Scarlet is a forester who loses all that he owns, and goes out to look for King Raven, certain things that this man has done has become legend. Will decides, after his quest is done, and after he has proven he is worthy, to join the merry men and the brave archer. Being a follower of this rebel comes with a cost, though, and Will is taken and tortured and given a death sentence. Otherwise, he will have to give up King Raven and his group. Wales is falling under the thumb of Normans, who are invading. King William is giving barons control of the land. It is to King Raven and his group that the people look to for justice and help against all these evil forces.

Fans of the novel liked that the novel keeps the energy and mojo that the first novel had and the storytelling keeps things going at a what will happen next sort of pace. Some liked the balance between great research and the adventure element that was found in the novel. Fans liked that this series does not read like other Robin Hood stories that are cheesy and just romance, instead it goes for realistic and shows a careless world and it is hard for someone to get by in such a world. Some felt that the novel took a little to get into, but really picked up and started going faster and faster; making for a very enjoyable read. Some found that the novel was organized well and the story kept them engaged throughout. Some could not wait to see how Lawhead would finish this tale.

Some did not like certain elements in the narration that confuse things, mainly the shift between third and first person. Some were not grabbed or moved by anything that happened in the novel, and did not like that Lawhead had to remind them that he is a Christian. Some also found that he takes too long to describe something simple (like a stone) and could save everyone some time just by cutting things down some.

“Scarlet”, which is the second novel in the series, won the Visionary Fiction from the Christy Awards in the year 2008.

Book Series In Order » Characters » King Raven

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