Tuck (King Raven Trilogy)

Tuck - Stephen R. Lawhead Perfect. I didn’t think it was possible but each book in this trilogy became progressively better. This is one of the best Robin Hood retellings I think I’ve ever come across. It’s so very good. This one is set up similarly to the past two, in that it focuses on a primary character (Bran in the first book, Will Scarlet in the second, and Tuck in this one), but the POV is technically omniscient, so a lot of the characters make their thoughts known. I’ve always been skeptical about that form of narration, but it’s pulled off so well in these books. Becuause it shows us mainly the side of the outlaws, but we also get chapters that show us Red William’s, the Sheriff, and Guy’s dealings - which are important to the story. In this final book, King William has gone back on his promise to give Elfael back to its rightful king, instead he gives claims it in the name of the king and gives its ruling over to the corrupt Abbot Hugo and the Sheriff. Leaving Bran to return to the woods with his Grellon and plan for war. In a desperate attempt to man more troops, Bran sets off with Tuck to entreat his mother’s people in the north. When they get there, however, they learn that their king, Gruffydd, has been a captive of the Ffreinc Earl Hugh for the past eight years. Of course this leads to Bran’s brilliant plans for entering Caer Cestre and rescuing the king from underneath the earl’s nose. All while this is happening, Mérian returns home against Bran’s wishes to attempt to get more men to fight from her father. Unknowing that her father has been dead a year and her brother is married to the Ffrienc baron’s daughter. She is detained and held captive all while Bran is in the north rescuing the Welsh king. When Bran’s quest proves futile and he returns to Elfael empty handed, it’s up to him and his men to fight the oncoming Ffreinc troops. All ten of them. And that’s one of my favourite things about these books. There’s literally ten able bodied fighting men in Bran’s group. Ten against an army. Yet, these books are stunningly realistic. The reason that ten men can practically wipe out forces doubling and tripling theirs is because at that point in time, only the Welsh used longbows. So, they could wipe out the Ffreinc forces because they only used weapons that required close range. Honestly the meticulous research that must have gone into these books really shows. They’re literally brilliant, this book was brilliant. Lawhead’s portrayal of Robin Hood is just perfect. Honestly, Bran is the best, he was the mischievous rogue that we all know as Robin Hood, yet he had his flaws. Also, I don’t think I’ve mentioned how much I love the integration of the King Raven legend that came up in Hood. Every time Bran put on the costume and went out as King Raven was just the best. Having the forest be haunted is a typical point in Robin Hood stories and the way that Lawhead chose to show it is probably my favourite thus far (a lot of stories just throw in wind chimes or whatever and say, ok that’s what people think are ghosts. No fun. I like a hooded raven cloak and blood curdling screams thank you very much). Anyway, this book was perfect, this trilogy is perfect. I am so happy with it. It’s easily going to be at the top of my favourite Robin Hood books.