Just Finished: “Hood”, by Stephen Lawhead

Of the many books I got off my 25 dollar (roughly) Barnes and Noble gift card, the one I was looking forward to most was Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy, which I now own in one volume. I have just finished the first novel, “Hood”.

I don’t want to say too much because I plan on saving my full review or Superversive SF, but in a word: Brilliant.

Here is my question: I hang around a lot with the Superversives and the Castalia House crowd and the various Puppy groups and all of that jazz. So how come none of them have ever mentioned Stephen Lawhead? I only ever heard of the guy because one of my commenters mentioned I might like the Pendragon Cycle many moons ago.

But he is exactly the sort of writer we should all be supporting, a Christian with a strong sense of morality who incorporates his faith into his books. He is incredibly well-researched, incorporates magic while remaining highly respectful of Christianity (which is presented as a simple fact of the world)

About the book: After the Pendragon Cycle Lawhead’s other masterpiece is supposed to be his Paradise War series starting with “The Song of Albion”. I bought it. It hasn’t grabbed me. The main character is unbelievably unlikable, and the fantasy world is pretty much bog-standard as far as fantasy worlds go. I’m sure it gets better, and there’s character development and all of that, but I just haven’t found it worth my time – or at least not yet.

Not “Hood”. “Hood” is in the tradition of the “Pendragon Cycle”, a book about a legendary figure newly set behind a historical backdrop. I won’t say much more except that the concept is right in Lawhead’s wheelhouse. I could tell immediately that he wrote the book much further along in his career than the Pendragon Cycle – and indeed, he had, the first book in the trilogy being published in the mid-2000’s. His pacing is much improved, and his dialogue is sharper and wittier. The characters are wonderful, and the conceit of the story – Robin Hood relocated to Wales and set during the Norman invasion of Britain – is original and compelling.

I’m at a loss as to why this guy isn’t more popular. I mean, he IS popular – just look at the number of reviews he gets – but he should be one of the Superversive crew’s favorite authors and nobody seems to notice him but me. I don’t get it. He’s terrific.

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One Response to Just Finished: “Hood”, by Stephen Lawhead

  1. Bibliotheca Servare says:

    So this is an old post (I’d forgotten I had your blog bookmarked, heh, so I’ve been going through the posts I’d missed), but I’m commenting on it anyway. *grin* Thank you for reminding me about Mr. Lawhead! I read his King Raven trilogy back in ’09 or maybe 2010, but I had forgotten where I read about Robin Hood being Welsh! *chuckle* The series was so good that it stuck in my head, but my head is such a jumbled, disorganized muddle that I likely never would’ve recalled *what* series it was, much less the author! Oh, I am *so* excited to reread the series and start in on his other books! *rubs hands together gleefully* Again, thank you! God bless! 😀

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