Monday, May 18, 2009

Tuck 1: Intro

Stephen R. Lawhead’s Tuck is the final installment of his "King Raven" trilogy.

Robin Hood has changed a lot over the years. Originally, the name was just a common name for a robber. Then it merged with the popular English stereotype of the trickster, and soon the character picked up some pious yet anti-authority qualities and eventually became the patron saint of redistributing wealth. But he also moved away from his common, lower-middle class origins to become linked with nobility (originally Saxon). Sir Walter Scott was one of the first to make him an anti-Norman freedom fighter in Ivanhoe.

So now he's a Welsh lord with a retconned name (Rhi Bran y Hud). It makes sense, because his weapon of choice was of Welsh origin. In a way the story is almost more about the longbow, which I think could be considered the first truly modern weapon. Instead of fighting face to face or at least at relatively close range, a Welsh archer could strike you dead before you saw him him and definitely before you could reach him. He was the first sniper, and his weapon must have seemed like the Devil's own magic. Only the crossbow came close, and given its comparatively pathetic reload rate, it didn't come that close.

(Cannons and trebuchets are more awesome to look at, but try wheeling them through a forest or targeting a specific person, and you'll see why the accuracy, speed, and agility of the archer made his longbow even more terrifying.)

Anyway--in Tuck we find Rhi Bran and his nemesis of the moment, the hissably icky Abbot Hugo, each facing sharp reductions in headcount without the other's knowledge. So they both decide to pick up some new fighters, which means in Bran's case a new character--Alan A. Dale, not to be confused with his kinky terpsichorean brother Chip N. The Lady Merian has her own clever ideas about recruitment that show the area badly needs a good newspaper with Society and Obituary pages.

But Bran's personal edition of Mission: Impossible is probably the best part, in which he somehow plays Salome without disrobing. (No, I won't explain that beyond saying Chip N. Dale isn't involved. Read the book.) Suffice it to say that it tests all Bran's fiber, and he learns an important lesson about gratitude.

Through it all, Tuck is a pacifist before the fight and a head-basher during it. This is called versatility. Despite numerous rebuffs, he keeps trying to find someone to join him in a duet of "Why Can't We Be Friends?" What a trouper.

Meanwhile, the rest of the CSFF bloggers are your friends, and unlike me, they'll probably be delighted to loan you money. Why don't you drop in on them and ask?

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Grace Bridges
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Terri Main
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Epic Rat
Crista Richey
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson


Keanan Brand said...

I had to read "hissably icky" twice, but I'm still laughing about it. Fun post!

Steve said...

You were expecting maybe "ickably hissy"?

Phyllis Wheeler said...

"Through it all, Tuck is a pacifist before the fight and a head-basher during it. This is called versatility."

Too true! and funny!

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