Monday, May 18, 2009

Review of Tuck by Stephen Lawhead - The Process

(Tuck by Stephen Lawhead. )

Okay, I have not read this book yet. Finals, bad health, cat ate my computer, pick your excuse it all works. Anyway, I am going to read it tomorrow and then post a review on Friday, but I thought you might like to take an inside look at the process. So, let me tell you what I am doing and thinking right now.

First, I take a look at the cover. It's a nice hard bound cover. The design is simple but elegant. I see it is book three in the King Raven series.

Oh great. Once again, I'm reviewing a book in a series where I haven't read the other books. Of course, it may stand alone. It should stand alone. Every book should be able to be read on it's own merits. Okay, maybe that's just me venting because I didn't read the other two books.

I see this is Stephen Lawhead as author. Pretty big name for our little blog tour. Now, I'll check out the cover copy on the back.

The first thing that hits me is a quote "Pray God our aim is true and each arrow finds its mark"

Oh no, not another "God is on our side and all those human beings on the other side are evil demons from the netherworld and not sons and husbands and fathers with fathers, wives and sons who will weap over their deaths" type of book. Getting a little tired of the Christian publishing world ready to justify any type of violence but will shudder if someone even mentions a sexual topic. Okay, more venting. Doesn't mean this book is really like that. I would like to see more speculative fiction that doesn't involve battles and massive killing sprees. But I'll reserve judgement. And that is a personal matter of taste and not something relevant to the excellence of the writing or story.

Apparently, this series follows the adventures of Rhi Bran also known as King Raven and is told from the perspective of Friar Tuck.

Okay, another retelling of the Robin Hood mythos. What an enduring legend. The idea of a band of outlaws, who use robbery as a form of social commentary and civil disobedience. Wonder about the theology of robbery as a means to help the poor. By the way, I wonder if they have Men in Tights available on demand.

Seems like it is a story about a rebellion to find a homeland for the peoople of Elfael.

Sounds tedious right now. Supposedly set in the latter 11th and early 12th centuries. Probably glamourizes that whole bloody era, turning local politics into a morality play of some sort with clear villains and heroes when the real characters of history are rarely either. I feel uneasy with stories set in historical times dealing with historical events which never actually happened. But then I do like the Brother Cadfael mysteries which do that. So, this might be like that. Again, I need to reserve judgement until I read the book.

Now, to read the book. I will be posting updates on Twitter and Facebook as I read the book tomorrow. Realize that these will be purely personal responses and not to be confused with a reasoned evaluation of a book based on its own merits and not my subjective responses, but you might be interested in the process.

Meanwhile, check out what others are saying about Tuck at these other blog sites:

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
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson


Blogger TWCP Authors said...

I like how you showed your thinking around the cover of Lawhead's novel. It is part of the process consumers go through when looking to buy a new book.

The back cover text or teaser is a critical tool for selling books. If a consumer gets bad vibes from the text then they are unlikely to purchase the book.

I wonder if you would have purchased the book in a store based upon both the front and back cover material?

As well, it will be interesting to hear your opinion on the cover text once you've finished reading the book. Was it representative of the story? Was the author/ publisher looking to attract a specific audience and therefore showcased specific components of the story? Could they have done a better job with the text?


May 19, 2009 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

I would not have bought it. I have no problem with violence in stories. Even violent heroes have their place, but for a servant of God to be praying for the deaths of others being the headline on the back of a "Christian" novel honestly turned my stomach.

Unfortunately, for much of the story that was a recurring theme that disturbed me greatly. There is no doubt this is a well written novel, but being glib about the death of others. Indeed of other Christians was troubling. I couldn't help but make personal comparisons with Frank's Underground stories where the Agape principle dictated nonlethal methods of prosecuting the war against the One State.

Admittedly 11th and 12th century England did not have Mindware, Taser gloves and tranq pistols, but there were nets, pits, traps, trip cords, ropes and other means at hand. They aren't as easy to use or as satisfying to an unregenerate nature seeking to do damage and cause pain to one's enemies, but they would be more Christian.

I was pleased that in the end Christian character did shine forth. Again being careful not to give away what I found to be an extremely satisfying ending even if it did come out of left field.


May 20, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

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