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Scarlet (King Raven Trilogy Series #2)

( 71 )

Overview

After losing everything he owns, forester Will Scarlet embarks on a search for none other than King Raven, whose exploits have already become legendary. After fulfilling his quest--and proving himself a skilled and loyal companion--Will joins the heroic archer and his men.

Now, however, Will is in prison for a crime he did not commit. His sentence is death by hanging--unless he delivers King Raven and his band...

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Scarlet (King Raven Trilogy Series #2)

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Overview

After losing everything he owns, forester Will Scarlet embarks on a search for none other than King Raven, whose exploits have already become legendary. After fulfilling his quest--and proving himself a skilled and loyal companion--Will joins the heroic archer and his men.

Now, however, Will is in prison for a crime he did not commit. His sentence is death by hanging--unless he delivers King Raven and his band of cohorts.

That, of course, he will never do.

Wales is slowly falling under the control of the invading Normans, and King William the Red has given his ruthless barons control of the land. In desperation, the people turn to King Raven and his men for justice and survival in the face of the ever-growing onslaught.

From deep in the forest they form a daring plan for deliverance, knowing that failure means death for them all.

Scarlet continues Stephen R. Lawhead's riveting saga that began with the novel Hood, which relocated the legend of Robin Hood to the Welsh countryside and its dark forests. Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Lawhead's trilogy conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595540898
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/10/2008
  • Series: King Raven Trilogy Series , #2
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 265,185
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Lawhead

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction.He is the author of such epics asThe King Raven, Song of Albion, and Dragon King Trilogies.Lawhead makes his home in Oxford, England, with his wife. Twitter: @StephenLawhead Facebook: StephenRLawhead

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

So, now. One day soon they hang me for a rogue. Fair enough. I have earned it a hundred times over, I reckon, and that's leaving a lot of acreage unexplored. The jest of it is, the crime for which I swing is the one offence I never did do. The sheriff will have it that I raised rebellion against the king.

I didn't.

Oh, there's much I've done that some would as soon count treason. For a fact, I et more of the king's venison than the king has et bread, and good men have lost their heads to royal pikes for far less; but in all my frolics I never breathed a disloyal word against the crown, nor tried to convince any man, boy, horse, or dog to match his deeds to mine. Ah, but dainties such as these are of no concern when princes have their tender feelings ruffled. It is a traitor they want to punish, not a thief. The eatin' o' Red William's game is a matter too trifling--more insult than crime--and it's a red-handed rebel they need. Too much has happened in the forests of the March and too much princely pride hangs in the balance to be mincing fair about a rascal poaching a few soft-eyed deer.

Until that ill-fated night,Will Scarlet ran with King Raven and his band of merry thieves. Ran fast and far, I did, let me tell you. Faster and farther than all the rest, and that's saying something. Here's the gist: it's the Raven Hood they want and cannot get. So, ol' Will is for the jump.

Poor luck, that. No less, no more.

They caught me crest and colours. My own bloody fault. There's none to blame but the hunter when he's caught in his own snare. I ask no pardon. A willing soul, I flew field and forest with King Raven and his flock. Fine fun it was, too, until they nabbed me in the pinch. Even so, if it hadn't a' been for a spear through my leg bone they would not a' got me either.

So, here we sit, my leg and me, in a dank pit beneath Count de Braose's keep. I have a cell--four walls of stone and a damp dirt floor covered with rotting straw and rancid rushes. I have a warden named Guibert, or Gulbert or some such, who brings me food and water when he can be bothered to remember, and unchains me from time to time so I can stretch the cramps a bit and wash my wound. I also have my very own priest, a young laggard of a scribe who comes to catch my wild tales and pin them to the pages of a book to doom us all.

We talk and talk. God knows we've got time to kill before the killing time. It pleases me now to think on the dizzy chase we led. I was taken in the most daring and outrageous scheme to come out of the forest yet. It was a plan as desperate as death, but light and larksome as a maiden's flirting glance. At a blow, we aimed to douse the sheriff's ardour and kindle a little righteous wrath in lorn Britannia. We aimed to cock a snook at the crown, sure, and mayhap draw the king's attention to our sore plight, embarrass his sheriff, and show him and his mutton-headed soldiers for fools on parade--all in one fell swoop. Sweet it was and, save for my piddling difficulties, flawless as a flower until the walls of the world came crashing down around our ears.

Truth is, I can't help thinking that if we only knew what it was that had fallen plump into our fists, none of this would have happened and I would not be here now with a leg on fire and fit to kill me if the sheriff don't. Oh, but that is ranging too far afield, and there is ground closer to home needs ploughing first.

-----------------------

Ah, but see the monk here! Asleep with his nose in his inkhorn.

"Odo, you dunce! Wake up! You're dozing again. It ill becomes you to catch a wink on a dying man's last words. Prick up your ears, priest. Pare your quill, and tell me the last you remember."

"Sorry, Will," he says. He's always ever so sorry, rubbing sleep from his dreamy brown eyes. And it is sorry he should be--sorry for himself and all his dreary ilk, but not for Will.

"Never feel sorry for Will, lad," I tell him. "Will en't sorry for nothing."

Brother Odo is my scribe, decent enough for a Norman in his simpering, damp-handed way. He does not wish me harm. I think he does not even know why he has been sent down here amongst the gallows birds to listen to the ramblings of a dangerous scofflaw like myself. Why should he?

Abbot Hugo is behind this wheeze to scribble down all my doings. To what purpose? Plain as daylight in Dunholme, he means to scry out a way to catch King Raven. Hugo imagines languishing in the shadow of the noose for a spell will sober me enough to grow a tongue of truth in my head and sing like a bird for freedom.

So, I sing and sing, if only to keep Jack o'Ladder at arm's length a little longer. Our larcenous abbot will learn summat to his profit, as may be, but more to his regret. He'll learn much of that mysterious phantom of the greenwood, to be sure. But for all his listening he'll hear naught from me to catch so much as a mayfly. He'll not get the bolt he desires to bring King Raven down.

"So, now," I say, "pick up your pen, Brother Odo. We'll begin again. What was the last you remember?"

Odo scans his chicken tracks a moment, scratches his shaved pate and says, "When Thane Aelred's lands were confiscated for his part in the Uprising, I was thrown onto my own resources . . ."

Odo speaks his English with the strange flat tongue of the Frank outlanders. That he speaks English at all is a wonder, I suppose, and the reason why Hugo chose him. Poor Odo is a pudgy pudding of a man, young enough, and earnest in faith and practice, but pale and only too ready to retire, claiming cramp or cold or fatigue. He is always fatigued, and for no good reason it seems to me. He makes as if chasing a leaking nib across fresh-scraped vellum is as mighty a labour as toting the carcass of a fat hind through the greenwood on your back with the sheriff's men on your tail.

All saints bear witness! If pushing a pen across parchment taxes a man as much as Odo claims, we should honour as heroes all who ply the quill, amen.

I am of the opinion that unless he grows a backbone, and right soon, Brother Odo will be nothing more in this life than another weak-eyed scribbler squinting down his long French nose at the undiluted drivel his hand has perpetrated. By Blessed Cuthbert's thumb, I swear I would rather end my days in Baron de Braose's pit than face eternity with a blot like that on my soul.

Perhaps, in God's dark plan, friend Will is here to instruct this indolent youth in a better lesson, thinks I. Well, we will do what can be done to save him.

-------------------------

"When Thane Aelred's lands were confiscated for his part in the Uprising, I was thrown onto my own resources, and like to have died they were that thin."

This I tell him, repeating the words to buy a little time while I cast my net into streams gone by to catch another gleaming memory for our proud abbot's feast. May he choke on the bones! With this blessing between my teeth, I rumble on . . .

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2008

    The Saga Continues

    Stephen Lawhead continues to delight readers with the second part of his Robin Hood trilogy. Returning to the vast forests of medieval Wales, the author takes up the story of Robin 'King Raven' from the viewpoint of Will Scarlet, the son of a landowner dispossessed by the invading Normans. Will becomes one of Robin's followers, and accompanies him on the many escapades designed to undermine the Norman overlords. An audacious plan by Robin and others to rescue Will from hanging by his captors is breathtakingly fun to read. The author is uncompromising in his depiction of the Norman brand of 'ethnic cleansing' in Britain, which may be an eye-opener for those who think of William the Conqueror as an admirable hero. Sometimes dark, sometimes humorous, this book is always an adventure.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    Lawhead is still on his game!

    This was excellent

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A much more engaging read than Hood

    Will Scarlet is in prison and dictating his story to a monk who seeks to discover information on Rhi Bran y Hud for his master Abbot Hugo. Through Will's memory we learn the latest news of Prince Bran's exploits. He and his men have become experts at stealing from the rich and giving back to the poor people of Elfael. Will Scarlet tells how he found Prince Bran and joined up with him. As always, Prince Bran's only goal is to take care of his people and get his land back.

    As Will retells his story to the monk, he becomes aware of a conspiracy that threatens King William the Red's throne. If he can get word to Prince Bran, there might be a way to save King William's reign and get Elfael back. But Will is sentenced to be hung soon. How can a dead man get a message to anyone?

    I enjoyed Scarlet very much. The second book was a much better read than the first. It did have a long take from the old woman, but it wasn't as frustrating as it was in the first book. I also liked the way this book was written from Will's perspective in prison. Will is a wonderful character with a unique voice. Lawhead switches point of view characters often, but to have the tale from Will was refreshingly consistent. I highly recommend this second book. It could be enjoyed without having read the first one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Bookreader

    I think this is a very good book and i cant wait to finish the last book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Has a legend/myth/other-worldly epic feel to it.

    When I read the first book in the series ("Hood"), I liked it and it was definitely different from other books I'd read, but I couldn't really bring myself to like the character Bran all that much. However... this second book in the trilogy is much better in my opinion. The story is told through one of King Bran's followers, Will Scarlet, and this character is much more likable. Bran has changed, too, making me like him more than I did before. The book definitely has a "legend/myth/other-worldly" epic feel to it. The author has done a good job in research and in handling the usage of language and the feel of the time era into the story. It kind of felt like reading Ivanhoe! Also, Lawhead is talented in the words he chooses to string together-- they have a certain sound to them that the only way I know to describe it is "Tolkienish". I suppose what I didn't like about the book was certain "crudenesses"-- but please don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I'm just personally supersensitive when it comes to things of that nature. I also didn't get the whole "Angharad-goes-deep-within-herself-to-find-the-answers..." chapter. I kind of lightly skimmed through that. Anyone who loves fantasy, ancient legends, myths, and is a Robin Hood buff will enjoy this tale! *By the way, I think that if this trilogy was ever made into a movie, Charlie Cox would be a good one to play Rhi Bran!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Different yet a good read

    I loved the first book and was very excited to read Scarlet. Scarlett is written in third person - Will Scarlett speaking to a monk who is writing the story as you listen to it being told to him. That is a little difficult to follow at times. The cast is the same and well done. Lawhead does a GREAT job of putting you in the moment, in the correct time period. The SERIES is fantastic. This book is the least of the three books. They should make a movie out of this series!

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting Approach...Great Narrator Voice!

    I've read some of the medieval Robin Hood tales, and I think the rewrites are fanscinating in the ways they change and expand upon the characters. Lawhead has done a marvelous job of bringing Will Scarlet to his full potential. He is a somewhat ignored Robin Hood character who played a pretty big part in the originals, and Lawhead has given him the emphasis he was once claimed. This book is written in narrative form, but Will Scarlet is set up as a clear narrator who tells the tale by a loosely applied interview structure. Overall, I think this structure allows Will Scarlet to really develop a voice that is perhaps the best character voice Lawhead has ever written. Scarlet is so much fun in dialogue. However, I do feel that sometimes certain details of the narrative have no place in the interview. There's no way Will Scarlet could reveal some of those details without betraying Robin Hood. I don't think the structure is really that bothersome when reading for fun, but I briefly considered writing a paper on this book that forced me to look at it perhaps a bit too closely. Still a great book, although I find the plot a bit slower than in _Hood_, which I loved!

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