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Hawk of May (1980)

por Gillian Bradshaw

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Down the Long Wind (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6791633,866 (3.84)14
Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

"Intelligent and imaginative...even the magic convinces."
-Mary Renault, author of The King Must Die

On The Path Toward Greatness, Every Hero Makes a Choice

Legends sing of Sir Gawain, one of the most respected warriors of King Arthur's reign and one of the greatest champions of all time. But this is not that story. This is the story of Gwalchmai, middle son of the beautiful, infinitely evil sorceress Morgawse, and gifted student of her dark magical arts. A story of an uncertain man, doubting his ability to follow his elder brother's warrior prowess and seeking to find his own identity by bonding with his frightening and powerful mother. Disappointed in himself and despised by his father, Gwalchmai sets out on a journey that will lead him to the brink of darkness...

A tale of loss, redemption, and adventure, Hawk of May brings new depth and understanding to Sir Gawain, the legend of King Arthur, and the impact of choices made-and the consequences that follow.

"A welcome new light on the horizon of popular Arthurian legend...delightful...a strong sense of love and mysticism...a ripping adventure tale."
-Booklist

"Will appeal to those who have enjoyed Tolkien's works."
-Library Journal

"Compelling...splendid...vibrant...exhilarating...a novel that seduces us into accepting sorcery and sanctity in King Arthur's England."
-New York Times Book Review

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… (mais)
  1. 00
    The Witch in the Wood {original version} por T. H. White (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two books about Sir Gawain growing up
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This is the first in a trilogy by Gillian Bradshaw, retelling the Arthurian legends. As with some other retellings as far back as Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers and Sword at Sunset, written in the late 1950s/early 1960s, the story is set against post Roman Britain where the (former Celts, now British) have splintered into rival kingdoms and are fighting off waves of invasion by the Saxons, who have taken large parts of the country and settled there. The Saxons are not content with their holdings but are continually raiding into British areas and taking more and more land.

The British are nominally ruled by a High King, Uther Pendragon. One of his illegitimate sons, Arthur, is a superb leader and has honed Uther’s war band into a fighting unit greater than any other, but no one expects him to become High King when Uther dies, and the rival kings are prepared to fight each other for the honour.

Gwalchmai (Hawk of May, his original Welsh name, later known as Gawain in the legends) is a young boy growing up in the Orkneys when the story opens. He is not much of a warrior and is therefore a disappointment to his father Lot and his elder brother, Agravain. His consolation is the admiration of his younger brother Medraut (Mordred), and his horsemanship. He starts to teach himself the fundamentals of a cavalry combat style that Lot and Agravain disdain. Then he is steered towards a scholarly path when their mother, Morgawse (Morgause) begins to teach him Latin. However, this turns out to be her way of inducting him into the ways of Dark sorcery.

Morgawse hates her father Uther Pendragon and half-brother Arthur and will stop at nothing to kill them, even if it means destroying the last chance for Celtic Britain to resist the Saxon invaders. When Gwalchmai discovers that she resorts to human sacrifice, he rebels, but is too late to save Medraut whom she has also secretly indoctrinated. Far from being repulsed, Medraut revels in the dark magic so Gwalchmai has to escape alone. His mother sends a demon in pursuit, but the powers of Light come to his aid and whisk him off to the Celtic Blessed Isles where he meets Lugh, the sun god, in the Hall of the Sidhe. Lugh tells him that he isn’t in fact a god, although something more than a man, but is an incarnation of the Light. His time is nearly over as another is taking his place. Although not overtly stated, it is obvious that Christ is meant.

He gives Gwalchmai a magic sword, known in the legends as Excalibur – so in this version, it is Gawain who has the sword rather than Arthur – and sends him back. Three years have passed in a single night and Gwalchmai is now a fully grown seventeen year old warrior, who has developed great fighting skills. His goal is to join Arthur’s war band, as Arthur is the leader of the Light's faction, but he must face many obstacles before he can do so, not least Arthur’s utter rejection of him.

A lot of the book deals with the conflict between Dark and Light with capital letters. Although the Dark seems exclusively associated with pagans - Morgawse and a Saxon sorcerer whom Gwalchmai encounters - the Light is associated with Celtic religion also, in the shape of Lugh and the Sidhe. Taliesin, the legendary poet of Welsh legend, features, and there are references to the Irish stories of Cuchulainn, the mighty hero. Also, not all the Christians in the story are 'good guys' - the monks at Ynys Winris (Glastonbury) are greedy and they overcharge travellers for meagre lodgings, so the situation is not as simplistic as it might appear.

Although in this story it is Morgawse who is the sorceress who has tricked her half-brother Arthur into sleeping with her, and gives birth to his nemesis, this is not against canon as there are versions where Morgause as she is usually known takes this role rather than Morgan le Fay/Morgaine.

My main problem with the story is that it suffers from pacing problems. In the beginning, Gwalchmai is young and is confined to his home island so we learn about the events in mainland Britain as a retelling of facts he has learned. The pace picks up once he escapes, and some of the characters are quite well defined such as the leading ones in Arthur’s war band, but quite a lot of the action is skipped over in summary. A few battle sequences are evoked to some extent, but because Gwalchmai becomes a beserker – someone who operates without thought under battle rage – a lot of this is fairly sketchy also. Basically, I found the story plodding and rather dull so that it was a chore to finish it.

I think also that it falls between two stools. A lot of the book is pseudo historical - the Dark Ages is not a period with a lot of documentation - but there is also the strong supernatural/religious/allegorical element of the Light versus Dark conflict. That doesn't really fit with a story that tries to be grounded in the possible experience of what it was like to fight against the Saxons - who include real historical characters such as Cerdic. For me, the writer doesn't quite pull off the mix of these two elements.

Finally, the book wasn't helped by some major misprints - not just the odd missing word or letter, but there was a whole paragraph scrambled. This in a traditionally published book in 1981 is quite odd. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
Gwalchmai fights free of Morgan's evil power and tries to serve light
  ritaer | Jun 6, 2021 |
The Irish prince, Gwalchmai ap Lot escapes from the enchantment cast on him by his own mother, the sorceress Morgawse. He flees south to Camlann in Britain where he hopes to join the war band of the high king, Arthur. But Arthur suspects him of being a spy sent by Morgawse. ( )
  MaowangVater | Nov 8, 2014 |
A novel about Arthurian legends, focusing on Morgawse's son Gwalchmai - the hawk of May of the title. ( )
  mari_reads | May 3, 2014 |
A book I send people to, when they think "The Mists of Avalon" was a good book. I think this one better, with more research than some on the same topic. There's a great deal of stuff on Arthur and I'm sorry more people haven't read and looked at the Howard Pyle Young Adult version. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 2, 2013 |
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Gillian Bradshawautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Marcellino;, FredArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

"Intelligent and imaginative...even the magic convinces."
-Mary Renault, author of The King Must Die

On The Path Toward Greatness, Every Hero Makes a Choice

Legends sing of Sir Gawain, one of the most respected warriors of King Arthur's reign and one of the greatest champions of all time. But this is not that story. This is the story of Gwalchmai, middle son of the beautiful, infinitely evil sorceress Morgawse, and gifted student of her dark magical arts. A story of an uncertain man, doubting his ability to follow his elder brother's warrior prowess and seeking to find his own identity by bonding with his frightening and powerful mother. Disappointed in himself and despised by his father, Gwalchmai sets out on a journey that will lead him to the brink of darkness...

A tale of loss, redemption, and adventure, Hawk of May brings new depth and understanding to Sir Gawain, the legend of King Arthur, and the impact of choices made-and the consequences that follow.

"A welcome new light on the horizon of popular Arthurian legend...delightful...a strong sense of love and mysticism...a ripping adventure tale."
-Booklist

"Will appeal to those who have enjoyed Tolkien's works."
-Library Journal

"Compelling...splendid...vibrant...exhilarating...a novel that seduces us into accepting sorcery and sanctity in King Arthur's England."
-New York Times Book Review

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