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Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon

Hawk Quest (2012)

by Robert Lyndon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Vallon (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
  johnrid11 | Feb 14, 2016 |
This is without doubt a big, glorious, involving book. One you can get totally lost in.

It's a rich, twisting, and thoroughly absorbing tale. One that travels through Spain, France, England, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Finland (I think), what is now Russia and all the way down the rivers and rapids to Constantinople. Whilst the cover says it is a novel of the Norman Conquests, it isn't - as such. I'd say it is fundamentally a journey through the world as known by later period Vikings.

Personally, had I been the author, I'd have argued against (presumably) the Marketing Department's suggestion of putting 'An epic novel of the Norman Conquests' on the front cover. Yes, there are Normans in it - and they are of course bad - and it takes place in the period shortly after the conquest of England, but if you're looking for a 'Sworn Sword' or another 'Hereward', you'll be better looking elsewhere. It is at least an epic, that bit's spot on.

It just goes to show how hard it is to pin down what this multi-faceted book actually is. On the face of it, it's a reasonably simple tale. An Arabic leader demands a ransom for a Norman knight he holds. Money, lots of it, or four rare, snow-white hunting hawks. From the title of the book, you can perhaps guess which option they decide upon.

A motley band of adventurers come together through accident and circumstance and proceed try to to carry out the quest of the title and the book is their adventures along the way. Vallon is a Frankish knight on his way back from being held captive by the Moors in Spain, when he runs into Hero, a young Sicilian scholar travelling with his master and teacher. The old Arab is dying, but has the details of the ransom wanted for a captured Norman knight out in the Middle East. The journey goes to England, where they meet up with a wild kind of woodland-dwelling outcast boy, called Wayland. Handily, he is an expert when it comes to handling Hawks. They are effectively chased out of England and travel to Iceland, then Greenland after the Hawks they need. They collect other adventurers on the way and are pursued by all manner of Normans, Icelanders and on the 'return' journey through Norway and Russia, by Vikings and marauding Steppe nomads.

Whilst Vallon is the leader of the group, the most interesting character, perhaps not surprisingly given the author's background, is young Wayland. The author is a falconer and Wayland is the character in the book who hunts, captures and cares for the hawks of the book's title. Passages describing him, and his adventures in the countryside - both fighting, protecting his comrades and capturing the Hawks - are superb. Robert Lyndon really brings the wildlife, forests and countryside of 11th Century Europe vividly to life. You can almost smell it!

There's a little and a lot of everything here (well over 600 pages in the hardback version I have, so lord only knows how many it'll have when it comes out in paperback). But whilst it is a long story, it's one that is constantly moving, action-packed and manages to stay focused the whole way through.

So while it is a quest and it is set in the (in England anyway) Norman period, it isn't a novel of the Norman conquests. Vikings are in it, but it isn't a Viking novel. It's a quest, a long involved one at that, but it isn't 'Lord of the Rings'. Maybe it's just written for the love of it. Yes, that must be it. Stop trying to sort out what it is or isn't, Steve. Stop over analysing and enjoy - is what I told myself about a third of the way in. And enjoy it I did, very much indeed. ( )
1 vote Speesh | Mar 29, 2014 |
An epic journey starting in France to England and on to Iceland and Greenland then a hard journey across the top of Norway to Russia, Kiev and thence down to the Black Sea and to Anatolia. All in search of the famous white Falcon or gyrfalcon and the transport of 8 of them to the Emir of Anatolia as ransom for a knight.

Well written, filled with believable adventures and hardship as well as an excellent look at falconry as practiced in those times. Moral dilemmas abound. I look forward to the next, entitled "Imperial Fire." ( )
  WhitmelB | Mar 11, 2014 |
For about 300 pages -- I can be precise: from chapters 2 to 21 -- I was entranced with this book. With the creative description, with its people and their interaction, and with his sheer adventure-telling ability. Unfortunately it didn't maintain itself for me. The sentences to swoon at became less frequent, as did the laughs, and my love of the group members began to drift. The adventures were still there, certainly. But I wasn't gripping my seat as I had done.

It remained a stand-out book, but my experience is shaped by that elusive magic spell that came and went. Of course it's no mean feat to cast a spell even for a third of a book. The last stretches I felt weak, which makes a review hard to write...

I look forward to his next, where he travels even further. ( )
  Jakujin | Feb 8, 2014 |
This was a fantastic read. Normally, I would not read a book like this, I prefer women's historical fiction, but I really was hooked from the first sentence.
This was a long book at over 600 hundred pages, but the action and plot made the book move along at such an exciting pace. That story takes place in 1072 in England. A knight is being held for ransom. A soldier named Vallon joins forces with a young scholar in training to complete a journey. Along the way, a group joins them to find rare white hawks as ransom for the knight.
What an epic quest of adventure and excitement. Fighting Vikings, risking their lives at every turn in sea voyages, battles to the death. It was heart stopping journey. I hope this author writes more. I didn't want this book to end!
I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley. ( )
  melaniehope | Aug 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
The rest of the tale is an adventure-filled novel full of rich historical detail that includes an unscrupulous stepbrother who doesn’t want Sir Walter ransomed in pursuit. Hawk Quest will delight fans of historical fiction—it certainly ranks with the work of Bernard Cornwell, to whom the most apt comparison might be made—and I can think of a falconer or two who might be intrigued as well.
added by KelMunger | editLit/Rant, Kel Munger (Jul 20, 2013)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Lyndonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Epica PrimaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fell, KarolinaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leplat, ElodieTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panepinto, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hunger will devour one, storm wreck another.

The spear will slay one, and another will perish in battle...

One will fall wingless from the high tree in the forest...

One must walk alone in foreign places, tread unknown roads among strangers...

One will swing from the crooked gallows, hang in death...

One at the mead-bench will be shorn of his life by the sword's edge...

To one, good fortune; to one a dole of suffering.

To one, joyful youth; to one, glory in combat, mastery in war-play.

To one, skill at throwing or shooting; to one, luck at dice...

One will amuse a gathering in the hall, gladden the drinkers at the mead-bench...

One will tame the wild bird, the proud hawk on his fist, until the falcon grows gentle.

(From "The Fortunes of Men" in the Exeter book, England, tenth century)
To Deborah and Lily
First words
That morning a Norman cavalry patrol had captured a young Englishman foraging in the woods south of the River Tyne.
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Book description
1072 AD. The Normans have captured England. The Turks have captured a Norman knight. And in order to free him, a Frank warrior named Vallon must capture four rare hawks. As they track their quarry to the far ends of the earth, from Greenland to Russia to Constantinople, Vallon and his comrades must brave raging Arctic seas, savage Vikings, and blood-drenched battlefields in a relentless race against time.

Robert Lyndon has been a falconer since boyhood. A keen student of history, he was intrigued by accounts of hawks being used as ransoms during the Middle Ages. Some of the scenes in Hawk Quest were inspired by Lyndon's own experiences as a falconer, climber and traveler in remotes places.
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It is 1072, and the Normans have captured England. The Turks have captured a Norman knight. And in order to free him, a soldier named Vallon must capture four rare hawks. On a heart-stopping journey to the far ends of the earth, braving Arctic seas, Viking warlords, and the blood-drenched battlefields, Vallon and his comrades must track down their quarry one by one in a relentless race against time.… (more)

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