Customer Reviews for

Tuck (King Raven Trilogy Series #3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted April 2, 2009

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    Fitting Ending to Fine Trilogy

    Stephen Lawhead wraps up his Robin Hood saga masterfully in this final installment. Bran and his men (and women) continue to fight valiantly for Bran's kingship, from the Welsh greenwood which hides them to the King's Road. As in earlier books, the band must rely not only on their deadly longbows, but on quick wits and inventiveness. As the title suggests, in this part of the tale Friar Tuck plays a crucial role. An epilogue and author's notes at the end enrich the reader's understanding of how this legend grew. Not to be missed by readers who loved the first two books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2009

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    NEW TWISTS

    Lawhead brings new twists to the Robin Hood legend in this trilogy by making Robin Hood or Bran ap Brychan heir to the Welsh cantref Elfael. This twist is not without irony as the remnant of the original Britons had been driven into Wales and Normandy by invading Saxons long before the Norman invasion. Incidentally, this is one of those books that are more historical fiction than science fiction and fantasy but you will find it under the latter heading simply due to the reputation of the author.

    Norman invaders kill Bran's father and his father's war band and take possession of Elfael. Bran's enemies in "Tuck" are the very unholy Abbot Hugo and his minions Sheriff de Glanville and Marshal Guy of Gysburne and the treacherous English King William Rufus. The first two books of the series, "Hood" and "Scarlet" , introduced us to Iwan (or "Little John" as he was called by Friar Aethelfrith), Friar Tuck (as he was called by Iwan), Merian, Will Scarlet, and the wise and ancient bard, Angharad. They also introduced us to the Raven King - the dark birdman phantom created by Bran to terrify the Normans. "Tuck" continues to illustrate how such legends spread widely, grab the imagination of the local population and serve to unify their opposition.

    I waited with great anticipation for this third book of the series and was initially disappointed. "Tuck" lacked the freshness of "Hood" and the novelty of Will Scarlet telling his story from prison to the naïve and simple monk Odo in "Scarlet". King Raven was less active, and the villains seemed less villainous in this third book. The scope also seemed smaller as Bran's war band seemed to have shrunk to a very small scale - half a dozen archers against no more than a couple score of Norman knights. However, the scope widens as "Red William", the English King, leads an army through the Marsh to make an example of the unruly Welsh. Friar Tuck also earns the right to have his name on the final book of the series. The ending serves to explain how the legend of Robin Hood spread from the Welsh roots Lawhead gives it and ties up all the loose ends in a very satisfying manner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2009

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    The final tale of the King Raven trilogy is a terrific finish to a great retelling of the Robin Hood legend.

    In the late eleventh century they fled to the forests of the March from the invaders who routed Rhi Bran y Hud and his loyal Grellen fighters from their home Elfael; William the Conqueror gave their land to Abbot Hugo. Although the forest outlaws have become a powerful force due to their skill with the longbow inside the dense forest, they know they are losing the war outside the March. Hugo accompanied by traitorous Guy of Gysburne and their ferocious Ffreinc barbarians assault Bran¿s subjects with a brutality never seen before as women and children are expendable to this ruthless horde.<BR/><BR/>Robin and the Grellen feel helpless while their loved ones are being butchered. They know they must confront a much more powerful enemy not as outlaws hiding behind trees in the forest, but as a freedom fighting force. Bran has strong allies like Will Scarlet the forester, Angharad the seer, Merian the warrior and especially the diabolical Friar Tuck. Leaving Will and the seer behind with the Grellen inside the March to continue the guerilla tactics, Bran and Tuck leave the forest to rally the collapsing Ffreinc forces under the rallying cry of the return of the heir. At the same time Lady Merian learns her father is dead and her brother is a puppet married to the enemy. Their efforts look even more hopeless than when they started the end game.<BR/><BR/>The final tale of the King Raven trilogy (see SCARLET and HOOD) is a terrific finish to a great retelling of the Robin Hood legend. The story line is fast-paced keeping the sense of desperate franticness that the heroes face while their people are being butchered. Fans of the saga will relish Stephen R. Lawhead¿s excellent rendition but should first read the previous books to obtain a better understanding of what inspires Bran and his loyal teammates to keep on going though they are dispirited and confronting overwhelming odds to become living legends instead of dead outlaws; as even the myths are written by the victors.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

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    Another excellent book by Lawhead

    Lawhead has achieved another masterful series with the Raven King Trilogy. I have always enjoyed his books and this one delivers another page-turner. There were times when I could not put it down. The retelling of the legend of Robin Hood was just as masterful as when Lawhead retold the legend of King Arthur. I would love to see Lawhead do another Science Fiction series, but these retelling of English legends is working just as well. Be sure to read the first two books in the series before picking up this one as you could be lost as to what is going on. One thing to note, it seems as if Lawhead wasn't sure how he was going to tie up the story until this book. He started a trilogy, but then put stuff in this book he hadn't in the others. Still well-written, but odd.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

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    Great Escape

    A good ending to the Series!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Loved It!

    I have been a fan of Stephen Lawhead for some time now. This book did nto dissapoint me in anyway. His style, imagination and obvious love for literature allows you to experience this world as you never have or will!

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  • Posted June 22, 2009

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    great ending to the trilogy

    What we know now as legend, old and familiar as the dusty books we read as children, began in the dark distance of the past as something else-as some truth we've changed until we remember things that never were and forget those that really happened.

    For every legend we love, another story lies buried somewhere, tantalizing and forever out of reach.

    In the King Raven (Welsh "Rhi Bran") Trilogy, the "elsewhere" is Wales. Bran ap Brychan is the clever, roguish, and reckless son of a bullheaded king, estranged from his father and wishing nothing more than to pursue his own lusts in his own way. All that changes when Brychan and his war band are slaughtered by treacherous Normans. Elfael is given into Norman hands, and Bran, the rightful king, is driven wounded into the shadows of Coed Cadw, the Guardian Wood.

    Hood tells the story of Bran's plunge into the forest, his rescue by the ancient bard Angharad, and the beginning of his fight against the Normans as he embraces his role as king. In Scarlet, the legend continues as men and women gather around Bran, becoming more and more the rogue outlaw and merry men we all know. And in Tuck, the story reaches its powerful conclusion.

    As Tuck opens, the men and women of Coed Cadw are staggering home from bitter betrayal at the hands of William Rufus, the Norman king. The Saxon mendicant Aethelfrith, nicknamed "Friar Tuck," trudges alongside them, praying: "How long, O Lord? How long must your servants suffer? And Lord, does it have to be so blasted hot?"

    With their hope of royal intervention snatched from them, Bran and his people prepare for the fiercest battle of their lives-a prolonged and impossibly stacked battle for peace.

    The tale is written with Lawhead's customary mastery of place and time, by times earthy and misty with the atmosphere of a Great Britain shared by Normans, Saxons, and Cymry. The details are never forced, but they transport readers back to the eleventh century as effectively as any time machine. The characters, too, are brought to life through Lawhead's skillful writing-especially Tuck himself, whose bow-your-head-and-pass-the-ale faith is extraordinarily human and real.

    Compared to the dark, brooding atmosphere of Hood, I found Tuck to be an adventure story of the kind I loved reading as a child. It's funny, exciting, and sometimes sad, carried ever forward by the power of hope. By the final chapters, it seems certain that hope will never come to fruition-but then there's that ending, unexpected, almost unbelievable, and entirely right.

    But that's all I'll say about that.

    Faith is a very real force in Tuck. Nearly every character claims it, be he villain or hero, priest or Norman soldier or Welsh king. Most believe themselves to be on God's side-or at least sincerely hope they are-and most are wrong in some respect. God is on His own side, after all. But the men and women of Lawhead's eleventh-century Britain never make the modern mistake of thinking that God is not involved at all.

    Tuck is a powerful conclusion to a trilogy that dares take us back to a place and time forgotten, reimagining a legend in a way that might have been, with true credit to a God who certainly is. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Great Way to Finish the Series

    Read the first 2 then enjoy this fun take on Robin Hood

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

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    A satisfying end to the Robin Hood tale

    In Tuck, Stephen Lawhead's third and final instalment of his King Raven Trilogy, William the Red has reneged on his promise to restore Elfael to Bran Brychan, the rightful king. Bran and his flock flee back to the forest as Abbot Hugo's men give chase. The rebels make it back safe, but Bran knows that something more must be done. The Normans are men without honor and will not listen to reason. And Bran's band of rebels is not enough to overtake his Norman foes. Without some assistance, Bran will never manage to take back his throne. So Bran goes north to his kin to plead for assistance. There he finds Norman invaders have taken over this place as well. Bran weaves a plan to spring the rightful Welsh king from prison.

    This third volume in the King Raven Trilogy follows Friar Tuck, for the most part. My favorite scenes in this story were when Bran was masquerading as the Spaniard nobleman in an attempt to free the Welsh king from prison. I also enjoyed Tuck's dialogue very much. Here is an example of the bowlegged little friar's words.

    "God love you, man," sighed Tuck. "Changing horses in the middle of the stream-is this a good idea, I ask myself?"
    "From what you say, Friar," replied Bran, "Wolf Hugh is no respecter of the church. Good Father Dominic may not receive the welcome he so rightly deserves."
    "Who would fare better?" wondered Tuck.
    "Count Rexindo!" announced Bran, taking the name of a Spanish nobleman mentioned by the ship's master.
    Tuck moaned. "All very well for you, my lord. You can change like water as mood and whim and fits of fancy take you. God knows you enjoy it."
    "I confess I do," agreed Bran, his twisted smile widening even more.
    "I, on the other hand, am a very big fish out of water. For all, I am a poor, humble mendicant whom God has seen fit to bless with a stooped back, a face that frightens young 'uns, and knees that have never had fellowship one with the other. I am not used to such high-flown japes, and it makes me that uneasy-strutting about in someone else's robes, making airs like a blue-feathered popinjay."
    "No one would think you a popinjay," countered Bran. "You worry too much, Tuck."
    "And you not enough, Rhi Bran."
    "All will be well. You'll see."

    Tuck leaves me wishing I could read a more of these characters. All were introduced back in the first book, but it wasn't until this book that I really felt connected to them all. Tuck is a fun story that would stand fine on its own, but is also a satisfying end to this trilogy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    The Robin Hood Saga Retold

    The characters save for the protagonist are "run of the mill." The plot is sameo, sameo Robin Hood and his band of merrie outlaws fighting Normand injustices.
    The insights provided by Mr. Lawhead into the minds of the characters are interesting and I would say typical of the time frame presented.
    The action is fast and ultimately satisfying. But even though this is a "pot boiler" and in the same overall genre as the much touted "Dime-Novels" of the late 19th century, the story of Robin and his merrie band along with Maid Marion fulfill an inner need. We need heros who win over almost impossiable odds. I would place Mr. Lawhead in the same class as Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott but a wee bit below the middle say a 4 out of a possible 10

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    Great finish to an amazing series!

    Lawhead has taken a well know folk hero and fleshed him out like few others have done. In this third and final book in the King Raven Trilogy, Lawhead ties up an amazingly well written and engrossing story that takes Bran from spoiled rich boy to Rhys Bran, Kind Raven. Well detailed historical fiction. Well done, Stephen Lawhead!

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

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    A Good Wrap Up to the Series, Weakest of Trilogy

    I was sorely disappointed by the 3rd book in the King Raven series. I read through the first 2 so quickly that I eagerly awaited the release of Tuck having finished Scarlet only months prior. The first 2 books focused on the title character and I was hoping to find out more about Tuck, who seems to play a central role in many of the Robin Hood legends. While overall, this book does wrap up the trilogy and gives the reader closure to the Rhi Bran story, it does not focus on Tuck. In fact, Tuck, as a character, seems very secondary to the rest of the plot in restoring Elfael to its rightful ruler.

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  • Posted March 1, 2009

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    Friar Tuck Finally Gains 3D Status

    In the King Raven trilogy, Stephen Lawhead creates his own version of Robin Hood, this time placing him in the 12th century under the rule of William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror. This Robin is actually the rightful heir to a fiefdom in The March, a band of Wales that is on the border with England. Tuck is the third volume, this time following Friar Tuck's role and adventures in the whole story. Written in third person omniscient, the narrative will sometimes wander to Robin or other characters, giving the reader a panorama view of all the players and their activities and conversations. While Robin is still the leader and main hero, this time Friar Tuck's role is brought much more to the forefront. His contribution to the final denouement is crucial; more than that I dare not say lest I give away the finale. Friar Tuck is much more well developed as a character in this novel than in most stories; he is usually presented as the somewhat jolly gourmand who is fond of ale and food, but he seems a bit questionable in his true piety and devotion to God. Happily, Lawhead's Tuck has a deeper relationship with his Lord and does seem to want to follow God. He is in contrast to the rich, powerful and power-hungry Abbots and Bishops that scheme to take land and money from the true Britons and Welsh people. Tuck is a servant, a simple priest as he says, but he knows his scripture. Tuck has great depth to his character. Time and again, Robin puts his trust in Father Aethelfrith (Tuck's real name) to perform tasks could affect life or death for the whole group of followers in Robin's camp.

    There are the familiar tales of broken promises and subterfuge on the part of the sheriff, the greedy Abbot, and the king, as well as many daring exploits with Robin and his Grellon winning against impossible odds in skirmish after skirmish. One difference in this story, though, is that the forest dwellers recognize that the successes come from the intervention of God. They feel certain that their cause is just, so therefore God is on their side.

    Above all, Lawhead presents a convincing case for his version of Robin Hood's story, why it might be the true story and how the other versions may have evolved over time. His use of a ballad of Rhi Bran y Hud and his Grellon cradles the narrative in the form that our earliest known versions came from, the ballads of early minstrels. With an abundance of Celtic, French, and Welsh language thrown around, coupled with detailed cultural ambience that appears to be authentic of the time and the Welsh and Norman peoples, the tale of King Raven (it has to do with a translation like Rhi Bran, which led to Robin donning a terrifying big Raven costume to frighten enemies) sounds plausible.

    Those who love legends like Robin Hood and King Arthur will devour Tuck as well as the other two books in the series, Hood and Scarlet. I am sure it would be better if the books could be read in order, but I personally haven't read the first two, and I found it easy enough to follow without the background. Perhaps for someone who actually knows nothing of Robin Hood, it could be confusing to start at the last book. Tuck will appeal to those who thrive on digging into the truth behind any fictional history. I found myself looking up a lot of the words at first, mostly Welsh words. It's something I enjoy. Little touches like a pronunciation guide and a map added to my personal enjoyment in reading. Many extra touches enhanced a stor

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

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    If it had to end, this will work.

    While going from really enjoying Hood and then to absolutely loving Scarlet it was no surprise that I was thoroughly impressed with Tuck. The first book in the series, Hood was told from a narrative standpoint outside the eyes of the main characters. The second, Scarlet was directly dictated by Scarlet himself. And lastly, the third, Tuck was narrated partially by Tuck and partially by an outside vision. The change in perspective through out the series was very unique to me and I felt that it made the series come more alive than it would have in a monotone narration.



    Though, I suppose one could read this book alone without having read the first two in the series. I would not suggest it because you will miss so much, however the bard's poetry through out in the beginning of each section does a wonderful job of recreating the tale. Having read the first two books over two years ago, I really loved having the reminder of the plot that I might have forgotten.



    Friar Tuck's final installation to the trilogy completes the story in a favorable manor that I could never have imagined. There is much action and battle, but also underlying romance from characters you would not have thought it possible. Easily, I would tell you that this story is about hope and perseverance. Journeys to other areas of the continent filled with excitement and disappointment as well build through out the story and give you encouragement to continuously turn the pages until there are no more.



    My one regret with this story is that it has ended. It was so good and so much fun to read that I cannot wait for future books filled with the imagination of Stephen Lawhead to become available. I highly recommend this book, but also the entire series as well. Go read the excerpts available on Lawhead's website and decide for yourself if it might be of interest. I doubt you will be disappointed.

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