Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead

Scarlet (King Raven, #2)Robin Hood is Welsh? Of course, why didn’t anyone point this out before!

Rhi Bran i Hod = King Raven the Enchanter. What better way to scare off the pursuit than by pretending to be a giant black bird with raven-feather fletched arrows? He’s not a man, he’s a phantom! Who wants to marry Merian, daughter of a local lord. She is lovely and clever and one sneaky plan calls for her making herself ugly 😉

William Scatlocke, Scarlet if you can’t pronounce it, has been caught after a raid and dictates the first half of the book to a priest-clerk. Lots of amusing asides to break up the tale.

One woman in the forest is ‘the love interest’ who exists to be sad when Will leaves and eventually marry him. One woman in the forest is the wise-woman with a minor gift of prophecy. Not too many other named women in the story.

The King is not Richard Lionheart (as in the Errol Flynn movie) or William the Conqueror (as in many Norman vs Saxon stories) but William II (aka William Rufus after his red face and red, red hair). The Norman style of rule, lords and serfs, clashed with the closer relationship of Saxon lords and their peasants. Many Saxon lords – and their peasants – were burned out of their homes and left to starve… or steal and be hanged. Fun choices.

William’s brother wants the throne. There are 2 popes, one in Rome and one elsewhere. All this palace politicking has unfortunate repercussions for Our Heroes. Also, Abbots who wear gold are likely corrupt…

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