I read this book over my Thanksgiving Weekend and my family was begging me to put it down most of the time. They weren’t terribly successful at it however. I have always enjoyed Historical Fiction and Lawhead combines a thoroughly researched history of Wales and the myths of “Robin Hood” with a Fantasy World where enchanters and enchantresses are respected and revered. In this world the good guys may not always win as in real life but they still choose to risk helping the oppressed through trickery of the oppressors and building myths that confuse and strike fear in them at the same time while providing some tiny spark of hope to the helpless and dispossessed native people around them.
These characters are so vivid as are the descriptions of the landscape, climate and weather that I still walk those forest paths that Rhi Bran and his Grellon frequent in both this novel and the prequel, Hood. Scarlet brings back many old friends from Hood as well as introducing some new friends like Will Scarlet.
The story of Will brings us back to the ever present question of how do we fight oppression and injustice instigated by a corrupt ruling class from another place who have literally stolen the land and means of support away from those living there. In the middle ages it seems this was more widespread than we see here in America today yet at the same time if we stop and look we can see those who are between the same rock and hard place that Bran ap Brychan’s neighbors and subjects of Elfael found themselves in Hood and even more tightly pressed in this book.
Will makes a choice to seek out King Raven because he sees an opportunity to not only fight against those who have turned his family out but also to help others who but for King Raven and the hidden village of Cél Craidd would be homeless and without food.
Read this book to find out if Will and the rest of King Raven’s Grellon are able to escape the evil King and his minions, whether they are able to rescue Will when he is captured by the same, and how they all continue to fight for one another and those who are unable to fight.
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