May CSFF Blog Tour, Day 3: Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

Day 3 already? This tour has flown by like an arrow launched from a Welsh longbow. Time to lift a few “points” with (or from) some of our other merry outlaws.

You Had Me at Hardcover: Cris Jesse and I were both mightily impressed by Thomas Nelson’s classy offering of a beautiful hardback review copy of Tuck. It looks very sophisticated on my bookshelf. Margaret posted images of two different cover versions, but I think Grace Bridges has captured the essence of our beloved Friar on her webpage.

Pat, I’d Like to Buy a Vowel: Lawhead’s re-setting of the Robin Hood legend in Wales brings with it a heaping helping of musical, multi-consonanted Welsh names. Knucklehead me flipped so quickly to Chapter One, he completely missed the thoughtful pronunciation guide at the front of the book, so there was a lot of unnecessary beepity-beeping over the many conglomerations of double-f’s and l’s.

Psst…They’re Twitterpated: Terri Main employs a cool review technique, live-tweeting her reaction to the book as she reads.

Your Mother Was a Hamster, and Your Father Smells of Elderberries: I thought Lawhead’s portrayal of the French Norman occupiers as uniformly thoughtless, obnoxious louts fell perilously close to parody, but became more balanced toward story’s end. They do say history is written by the victors…

Watch As I Put a Clothyard Shaft Through His Wishbone: Steve Rice discussed the revolutionary impact of the longbow on medieval warfare, a topic Lawhead takes some pains to elucidate in an afterward at the end of the book. Yes, a small force with superior tactics and technology, and an intelligent selection of battlefields, could, did, and will continue to win battles over numerically-superior opponents. It’s not a fairy tale.

You Mean the C in CSFF Stands for Christian? Really?: Rebecca Miller offers some thoughtful analysis of the spiritual themes in Tuck, expressing some disappointment that they weren’t a bit stronger. John W. Otte (if he’s really “the least-read blog on the web,” there’s no justice), enjoyed the variety of religious perspectives, and noted Tuck’s bewilderment at the religious “innovations” imported by the Normans, something that struck me as well. It’s easy to forget that until about 1054, there was only one church, with a common practice of faith. Like John, I’m waiting for an epic historical-fiction reimagining with a Lutheran, or Presbyterian, or maybe even a Wesleyan hero. I can see it now: I Am Not a Merry Man! by Fred Warren…

That’s it for my contribution to this month’s tour. Get ready to have the willies scared out of you next month, as we review Tim Pawlik’s Vanish.

Stephen R. Lawhead’s Web Site

Buy the Book at

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
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson

>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<

4 thoughts on “May CSFF Blog Tour, Day 3: Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

  1. Fred, Great review of the book, as well as a fun overview of the tour.

    On the longbow, though, didn’t the Egyptians make heavy use of this in warfare long before the Welsh? Made me wonder, but maybe theirs was shorter and didn’t have the power to pierce armor.

  2. Hi, Robert!

    That’s a great question. Bows have been used in combat since ancient times. I did a quick Wiki on this, and the distinctive features of the English longbow appear to be its heavy draw weight (150-200 pounds–combined with a thin, steel arrowhead, that’s what gave it the ability to penetrate armor), ease of manufacture from a single piece of wood, and rapid rate-of-fire compared to other weapons.

    After the Welsh beat up English armies in a few battles using crude short bows, the English assimilated Welsh bowmen into their military and provided them longbows. The rest is history. Training for a longbowman took a lifetime, and there’s apparently evidence that the strain of continual training and fighting with the bow actually deformed the archer’s skeletons, producing overdeveloped left arms and problems with bone spurs. See

    Some middle-eastern cultures developed recurve bows with increased power from a shorter bow, but they were much harder to manufacture.

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