Friday, November 11, 2011


The final volume in the King Raven trilogy by Stephen Lawhead, Tuck, ensues on the very next accelerated heartbeat from whence Scarlet ended. This story focuses more on the character and point of view of the loyal, humble, brave, and godly Friar Athelfrith (aka Tuck). In this portion of the tale, the rightful king to Elfael, Lord Bran ap Brychan (aka Robin Hood, Rhi Bran y Hud, King Raven, or Bran), is continuing to lead his small band of Welsh outlaws in missions designed to reclaim his kingdom from the Norman ne-er-do-wells who unrightfully have been awarded his land by King William of England. Time after time, Bran and his group use their cunning and their mastery with the deadly longbow to outwit and outflank their pursuers. After Bran exposed a plot to King William regarding a serious threat to his crown, the king had promised him justice. However, he went back on his word and installed the wicked Abbot Hugo as regent of Elfael to gain favor with the church.

Ultimately, Bran realizes that his band is too small to take back and maintain control of his lands without raising military support from the other Welsh kings in and around Elfael. Yet everything he tries seems to come to naught. His requests are turned down flatly. When Bran and his forces finally take back control of Elfael from Abbot Hugo and his relatively small number of troops, King William calls all his barons to bring their armies of knights, men-at-arms, and foot soldiers to put the uprising down. He raises an army of more than 1000 professional soldiers aimed to quick quash Bran and his band of a few dozen locals. Yet Bran's group have fully adapted to forest warfare, and easily slaughter several hundred of King William's warriors who are only trained in open-field warfare with the sword. However, after some initial set-backs, they adapt their strategies and start to make progress in putting down the uprising. Yet before the final attack trumpets sound, help from the other Welsh kings and one powerful Norman baron arrives and swear loyalty to Bran. Tuck takes advantage of a chance meeting with King William to convince him that the costs of battle far outweigh the costs of peace. This leads to a negotiation of peace and a full settlement of the conflict. Bran's kingdom is restored and the legend of Robin Hood grows. An absolutely top-shelf series to which I give my highest recommendation.