Monday, May 20, 2013

Hawk Quest

Hawk Quest
Robert Lyndon
Redhook Book
Orbit Books
Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 978-0-316-21956-3
$ 25.99
April 2013
672 pages
At the time of the Crusades in 1072, it was not unusual for a son of a noble family to gain further riches by going off to fight in the distant land. Many of these sons were trained to be skilled in fighting with cultural rules. Many were shocked while fighting when their opponents fought in a different style. Gold was highly valued by both friend and foe.
When the Turks won a particular battle, rather than killing the noblemen, they held these privileged sons for ransom, usually to be paid in gold. Since not all families, even noble ones were wealthy enough to pay the ransom, another option existed, to find the legendary white falcons and to transport them back to the captors.
Who would or could achieve this quest of first capturing these rare and elusive birds and manage to keep them alive during this journey?
Vallon is a disenchanted crusader who is a wanted man by the Normans. He is guilty of killing his wife and another man. In his depressive wanderings, he happens to meet an older scholar and his aide who are on a mission of delivering this ransom note to the prestigious family. When the old man dies, Vallon agrees reluctantly to assist the aide in this vast quest. What he didn't plan on was this becoming his quest.
Robert Lyndon, the author, is an experienced falconer. He utilized many of his own experiences into episodes in this epoch novel. Hawk Quest is the debut monthly novel for the new division of Hachette which will concentrate on only one book per month. This particular historical fiction novel is for those readers who enjoy epoch fiction interweaving actual historical events and famous people. In much the same style as Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Margaret George, and Sharon Kay Penman, this also centers around England with encounters with Vikings, the Lapp people, and various tribes along the journey.
The characterizations are phenomenal in Hawk Quest. From the first page, Vallon is a questionable character never being quite certain about his loyalties except to himself. Hero lives up to his name and is the solid heart with Wayland becoming human through the adventures and trust of a woman.
The historical tidbits interwoven made this novel realistic. From the encounters with the Vikings and why they did not stay in North America, as to fleeing from the Normans, working with noble families, the people of Scandinavia and moving into what we now know as Russia, with the glimpses of the past as well as the threat to Christianity make Hawk Quest a thought provoking and well-written novel.
Unquestionably, Hawk Quest is an outstanding debut novel for both Robert Lyndon and Redhook Book.

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