by Stephen R. Lawhead
The traditional Robin Hood Story, but set in Wales during the rule of William Rufus (son of William the Conquerer).
A young Welsh prince named Bran suffers a horrific tragedy, loses his father's kingdom to the Ffrenic (Norman) usurpers and is forced to flee into the ancient forrest. There his life is saved by a mysterious elderly woman named Angharad. She gives him hope and courage to fight back against his enemies against all odds. Bran slowly gathers a rag-tag band of Welsh peasants who have also lost everything to the Ffrenic rule. They use the forest and their deadly long-bows to best advantage and trust in God to give them justice in the end.
The three book titles are Hood, Scarlet, and Tuck. I found Scarlet to be the most edge-of-your-seat and Tuck the most enjoyable read. The plot grows more complicated with each book, and the ending was not what I was expecting!
The story line was compelling, but the writing style I didn't care for so much. I never could feel as involved in the story as I wished, somehow. Also several key characters seemed to remain distant (most notably Bran and Merian). There were also some rather gory descriptions, and a lot of 'Medieval' cursing that I could have done without.
I would say ages 16 and up for these books. Parents might wish to read them first for younger kids.
Actually whatI liked best were the historical notes found in the back of the book. Here the author explains why he chose to set the story in Wales, and in the earlier time period than most Robin Hood stories. The notes several Medieval legends and the facts that led him to make those desicions. Very interesting!
Has anyone else read these?