Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon

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Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Based at the time of the Norman Conquests, an exciting adventure epic. This is a memorable journey for the reader as well as the characters and is being suggested as one of the books of 2012 already.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 672 Date: January 2012
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN: 978-1847444974

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Hawk Quest is an epic of a historic novel set in the 11th century. A band of companions led by Vallon, the mysterious Frankish warrior, travel from England to Scandinavia and on to Anatolia in order to capture and deliver four rare pure white falcons as a ransom for Sir Walter, the son of a Norman nobleman held by the Seljuk Turks.

This is a big book but Robert Lyndon has the talent to sustain the length. In fact the only thing I found unbelievable was that Hawk Quest is his first novel. This is a man who knows of what he writes. Lyndon has been a falconer since childhood and has an obvious love of nature and history. His research was exhaustive but Lyndon is not the sort of writer to go off on a learned flight of fancy or who brags about what he’s learnt. Each piece of research is intricately woven into the story so that it enriches the fabric rather than boring the reader.

The characters are well drawn and develop credibly as the novel progresses. The assertive leader, Vallon, may be a flawed hero but his past is cleverly revealed at a point at which the reader knows him, colouring the reaction. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s Hero, a Greek unworldly philosopher and medical student, experientially unprepared for the sights he will see or the adventures he’ll encounter. The most interesting character for me, though, was Wayland. Everyone assumes that he is mute because he was raised by wolves. In fact, his past differed from the rumours and he was dumbstruck by something more traumatic.

Lyndon has been compared with Bernard Cornwell and it’s easy to see why. Both are master storytellers who can interweave history with fiction without detracting from either. This book sweeps from England, to Scandinavia, from Iceland to Turkey encountering vengeful Normans, marauding Vikings, tricksters and a world of superstition, mysticism and brutality. (There are a couple of scenes that the more delicate amongst us may wish to gloss over, but you can see them coming. They’re quite short and so can be skipped without ruining the story.)

The author wrote the novel because he was intrigued by stories of falcons being used as ransom payments. I sincerely hope that he will continue to be intrigued with the world and its history if it guarantees more books like this one.

I would like to thank Sphere for providing thebookbag.co.uk with a review copy of this book. We also have a review of Imperial Fire by Robert Lyndon.

If you liked this, try The Tower by Valerio Massimo Manfredi.

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Buy Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon at Amazon.com.


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