Bran is the lackadaisical son of the king of Elfael, Rhi Brychan, in the land of the Cymric (what we know as Wales). With the death of his father and the steady encroachment of Norman invaders, Bran has become a fugitive, running for his life. After being grievously wounded, Bran recuperates and discovers that his destiny is tied to his people and their freedom. With the help of familiar comrades against well-known foes, the legend of King Bran the Sorcerer is born, otherwise known as Rhi Bran y Hud
The King Raven trilogy (comprised of Hood, Scarlet, and Tuck) by Stephen R. Lawhead is a vivid and imaginative retelling of the story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Be aware that this is not your Errol Flynn or Kevin Costner Robin Hood. Instead of following the traditional story setup of England and Sherwood Forest, Lawhead sends his vision of Robin Hood to the mystic and mysterious land of Wales during the time of William the Conqueror. Familiar characters such as Little John, Sheriff of Nottingham, Friar Tuck, and Maid Marian are portrayed, but they different from what we are familiar with.
What I loved about this trilogy were two things: the inclusion of Celtic mythology in the tale and the characters themselves. The mythology, mixed with Christian undertones, brought a depth to the storytelling that enriched and enchanted the classic story. It made the legend more earthy, if that makes sense. Add the believable and humorous characters, and the story felt more solid and real than some of the fairy-tale versions I’ve heard.
Now I’ve never been much for historical fiction, but the King Raven trilogy really drew me in. While some may decry the switch of location, I loved it. I thought it brought a new and exciting element to the story. It is slow in places, but the narrators fresh and they help to carry the adventure along. And the reader with it! Recommended for those who like Mary Stewart’s Merlin series.