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Flight of the Hawk by G. R. Grove
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Flight of the Hawk by G. R. Grove

The “Flight of the Hawk,” the second novel in a trilogy by G. R. Grove, was a wonderfully written book full of enjoyable characters and lots of action. This is a fantasy thriller, not set in the future, but set in the 6th century. The book is carefully crafted and historically accurate as well. The story also contains a military theme. If you enjoy a story with a military angle, this book is for you.

The narrative moved at a good smooth pace, the characters were well drawn and believable, and the dialogue very crisp and realistic. I very much enjoyed reading very much.

I am typically not a fan of fantasy stories and very rarely read them, but this book was a good example of what a talented author can do with a story.

The book is very long, over 900 pages. If you do not like long books, this one might not be for you. But, if like me, you enjoy a very long book, this would be a good book to check out.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. Higly recommended. ( )
  dwcofer | Jun 26, 2012 |
I recieved this book a while ago and I lost internet but I have had the chance to read it. I would like to give my review now: I dont know alot about 6th Century Britian
but I really enjoyed this book I wish I had read the first one and would like to read the third but anyway. The way the Author talks about the Dark Ages in Europe was so great because of the historical things that I learned. I also learned much about Scottland - Wales - England. I loved it, I really got a clear picture in my mind of what the Author is trying to say.
joycedlee ( )
  joycedlee | Aug 21, 2011 |
I received this book through members giveaway without books 1 and 3. I have to say however that the lack of book 1 made no difference to my level of enjoyment of this book. It is wonderfully written with a beautifully realized sense of space and time. The descriptions ring true which is what one most looks for in historical fiction (or fantasy as the case may be).

The level of characterization was decent; one does care for Gwernin and his friends. I found however, that the author didn't do as good a job with 'showing' feelings as with 'telling'. There was a lot of "I felt sad to leave my lady behind" by Gwernin but the next second he's off in good spirits with Taliesin. The plot too was just ok.

The main reason for reading this book is the beautifully done descriptiveness as opposed to the plot or characterization. That and the high level of writing skill made it a very enjoyable read for me. ( )
1 vote anatwork.k | Jul 14, 2011 |
I loved the vernacular used. It was so fitting of the time period and really sucked me into the story. I also really enjoyed that there were a few words that I had to look up! This is a rare occurrence and I love it! It's so nice to learn something new and to read something new that hasn't been used a million times.

Something I loved and hated, "But that, O my children, is a story for another day" Sometimes it fit perfectly, and sometimes I hated it being there. It didn't fit or just got repetitive.

It was about halfway through the book, around chapter 18 that I really got hooked. I cared about the characters, the relationships. I started flying through reading chapters at a crazed pace.

I cannot wait to pick up the first and third (and even the upcoming 4th title) in the story teller series. Storyteller, and The Ashe spear. I absolutely enjoyed this story. It was well thought out, well manipulated and I found it entirely too easy to get lost in the setting and picture every little detail in my mind. I also very much enjoyed the inclusion of the appendix, although I didn't discover it until I was done with the book, but all in all, GREAT read. I would, and have recommended it. ( )
2 vote rvenfrost | Jun 13, 2011 |
A novel about the travels of Gwernin, the storyteller, and Neirin, the bard. The descriptions of both setting and character help transport the reader into the period. For anyone who is a fan of Arthurian or other medieval literature, this novel is a must read. ( )
  bagejew | Mar 10, 2011 |
In my review of Storyteller, I remarked that the weak points of the work were plot and characterization. Both of those have improved noticeably in Flight of the Hawk.

Once again, the story is structured as a retelling by an older Gwernin of his adventures as a young man. I found the frame story more intrusive and distracting than in the previous volume; there is an overarching plot this time, and ending each chapter with "...that is a story for another day" was jarring. By reminding the reader that these stories are being told much later, they made the level of detail in Gwernin's recollections seem improbable. I hope that Grove drops this device in the next book, if it has a unified plot like this one; what worked for an episodic set of stories like Storyteller does not work for a novel.

That's a minor quibble about an otherwise very strong work, however. The sense of place and use of language remain as strong as they were in Storyteller, but characters -- not just Gwernin but his companion Neirin and the untrustworthy Bleiddig are more strongly realized than any character in the first volume, and the plot continuing from story to story means the sense of peril is more genuine. (We know Gwernin will survive, of course, but Neirin is in genuine peril more than once.) Flight of the Hawk moves more in the direction of fantasy than its predecessor -- Gwernin has more supernatural encounters, and -- more crucially -- he identifies them as something out of the ordinary. For the most part, these encounters remain incidental to the plot, but the escalation suggests that this, too, may change in future volumes. ( )
4 vote lorax | Feb 2, 2011 |
I was lucky enough to receive the trilogy of books called Storyteller, Flight of the Hawk and Ash Spear. If you enjoy Jack White novels you will enjoy this trilogy. Set back in the mythical times of dragons and warriors and the main character who is a storyteller. We follow him as he learns from his master Talhaearn and competes in front of royalty against others to become a master. He starts out in Storyteller telling the story about King Arthur’s Raid on Hell.
In the second novel, Flight of the Hawk, the young storyteller moves on to more adventures as he does in the Ash Spear. I was going to provide more information but quite frankly I don’t want to give anything away. I really enjoyed all three novels. They flowed from one to the other nicely and the best part, or I should say one of the best because there were many, is that at the end of the novel is a pronunciation guide for all of the rather difficult Welsh words as well as a wonderful postscript by the author that I almost wished was at the beginning of the novels as the pronunciation pages should have been as well. Some people may be put off by all the weird names and such but I promise if you stick with it the trilogy is well worth it. ( )
  Ani36ol | Jan 27, 2011 |
The second volume of Gwernin’s adventures on the road to becoming a storyteller and a bard. The same fine-cut sentences, the same genuineness of the characters.
This time, it is set as a novel (despite the break with the ritual final line at the end of each chapter) and I missed the ‘vignette’ format of the first volume. I had to imagine this book as old Gwernin (who is the narrator) wintering in a llys (a province king’s court in Welsh) and using the captive audience to tell a long story, one episode every evening.
The novel recalls the travel Gwernin and his friend Neirin undertake from Wales to the Northern parts of the Saxon territory. There is no real plot and despite the purpose of the journey (to learn more on the political situation and alliances in those unstable areas and times), the reader does not learn a lot on that matter. The enjoyment of the book comes from the description of landscapes and from the crafting of the sentences, with Welsh words sprinkled here and there and the exotic structure of sentences following the Welsh grammar.
The book should be read not as a novel, but as the rambling of a friend who has just come back from a one-in-a-lifetime travel and can’t help but share all of it with you! But take this as a pinch of salt. It is indeed a very nice and well written rambling, where the use of words and the description of landscapes are worth the trip!
  raton-liseur | Dec 27, 2010 |
This is the continuation of the Storyteller series by G. R. Grove, volume two of the first trilogy, in what is hoped will be a much longer series. Flight of the Hawk continues from where volume one left off, and, in fact, repeats one of the stories, from the first book, but does so as if that story is being told at a later time than the first telling. Young Gwernin storyteller and his friend Neirin the bard continue the journey they began in volume one of this series.

Like Storyteller, Flight of the Hawk is a series of intricately interwoven short story chapters which can both stand alone (but why miss out on the larger story... begin with book one: Storyteller instead of here) and form a larger, complete story, well fashioned so that the chapter/stories fit together like the feathers of a bird's wings. Flight of the Hawk is well written and smoothly paced; to say it is a pleasure to read is probably the biggest understatement I've made in all 100+ reviews that I've written so far.

The Storyteller series is recommended for most everyone 16 and up, but is an especially ideal read for those who love historical fiction, and for those who like a bit of fantasy now and then. This review is based on the Kindle version I downloaded from Smashwords.com, which was given to me free by the author. This review has been simultaneously posted on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Smashwords, and Amazon.com. ( )
5 vote 1dragones | Dec 21, 2010 |
G.R. Grove's knowledge of the period gives this story such solid roots, and Gwernin and Neirin are joyous travelling companions. The lyrical patterning and the stories-within-stories grew more and more compelling as the book progressed, and I found myself pulled more and more into their world.

It's always a gamble starting with book #2 of a series, but this time it paid off, and I will be going back to pick up #1 as soon as my budget allows. ( )
3 vote AlexDraven | Nov 9, 2010 |
Flight of the Hawk caught my attention and interest from the very first chapter. I look forward to reading the previous volume in the intended series and any follow up volumes that G. R. Grove will add to the series. I find the time period of the novel very fascinating. It is a period of time that one has to fill in a lot of empty spaces since there is not much of a written history to fall back on.

The approach of using bards to tell the story is a very good way to look at different areas of the islands since they did travel from place to place more then the average person at the time. Grove's description of the land and towns seems to fit what one might imagine the environment would look like during this time of history.

The story that Grove weaves is interesting and captures the reader's interest from the very first. I believe that the book will deep anyone's attention and it does become hard to put down. As I stated previously I look forward to reading more "but that...is a story for another day". ( )
2 vote qstewart | Nov 9, 2010 |
I absolutely loved the book. Very good. It definitely a great continuation of the story teller. I love J.R. grove's writing, and i can't wait to see if there will be a next book in the story teller series. ( )
  KarthiCaravel | Nov 8, 2010 |
FLIGHT OF THE HAWK is carefully crafted for maximum historical accuracy, so far as modern historians and scholars can tell with what is left to us from the period. I'm still a new medieval scholar, myself, but thrilled to see how carefully the details were woven, the dialogue constructed, and the Anglo-Saxon rendered.

Yet I struggled through it, possibly in part because I have not read the first in the series, and possibly because of how much I tend to rely on back cover summaries to tell me the overreaching plot of the book so I might recognize major plot points when they happen; there was no such crutch for me in this book. As a result, I was unsure of what the main point was, and the plotting felt episodic and lacked urgency. Obstacles were overcome in ways that felt convenient and far too easy, and the bards went on their way with barely a second thought.

I didn't hate the book, but it's not going to be an undying favorite, either. However, I can easily see how others, especially those who have read the first book, might find it much more absorbing and understandable than I did. ( )
  SnarkyWriter | Oct 31, 2010 |
The second volume of the tale of Gwerin begins with the last chapter of the previous book, in place of the recap prologue many authors use to remind readers of previous events. Though not necessary for enjoyment of this volume, I would highly recommend beginning the tale with the first volume “Storyteller.”
Travelling with Neirin at the behest of Taliesin, this book follows a journey from Wales to the courts of the Men of the North and into the Pictish lands.
G R Groves weaves a believable tale, steeped in history with a strong sense of place. There are more mystical elements within this book, but again each is treated as a part of life. Gwerin is not the typical hero figure, he’s involved in or a bystander to some of the great events of his time and continues growing as a bard and a person, but remains a bit player. Groves casts a light into the darkest era of the Dark Ages – Post Roman Britain, keeping Gwerin’s feet firmly grounded in a possible reality.
Storyteller was a fine introduction to Gwerin’s world, The Flight of the Hawk surpasses it in so many ways. ( )
3 vote nuatha | Aug 25, 2010 |
The plot takes center stage in Flight of the Hawk, the second title in the Young Gwernin Trilogy, with Gwernin accompanying his friend and fellow apprentice, Neirin, to the Pictish kingdoms of future Scotland. This time the trip is part of a larger effort to shore up a weakening peace between the Picts and Saxons, and so is a weightier undertaking than was the case in Storyteller. Gwernin remains the focal point, however, so while the story follows him on his journeys, as it did in the first book, and while vignettes punctuate their travels as in that volume, the more purposeful trip makes for a stronger narrative arc and widens the scope of the tale to include forces at a political and cultural level.

There is a looming sense of the Roman occupiers, gone almost a century, and for me even more palpable than the presence of the Old Ones for Gwernin, Neirin, and those they meet. Coupled with the growing influence of Saxons and Picts, as well as Christians, it makes for a real bordertown / frontier scenario. The sense of place continues to be a strong suit of Grove’s writing. I’m left wondering about parallel situations in which a pervasive sense of the past shapes the abiding sense of place: perhaps for those in the former East Bloc, or for those steeped in the triple culture of the American Southwest. If it is present in the American Midwest, today, I am largely unaffected by it, and the comparison shows how my experience of society is defined by contemporary forces from the past 20 or 30 years, rather than 200 or 300 years.

Grove devotes more space to the esoteric tradition in Hawk. Characters other than Gwernin have encounters with the supernatural, and these episodes seem to occur more frequently. For now, the increased attention to esotericism takes the form of description of subjective events. Neither Gwernin nor other characters really discuss or analyse the encounters from an esoteric perspective, though it is implied that Neirin could at least begin such a discussion. Neirin instead bides his time perhaps out of deference to his own relative inexperience, or perhaps thinking it is not his place to discuss these matters with Gwernin. A conversation with a King under a hill, based upon Lindow Man; encounters with Standing Stones; and a visit from Gwydion at a Roman Tower on the Three Hills are key examples, though the introduction of a Pictish druid suggests yet more is in the offing. Gwernin seems to have a talent or mystical outlook, given his channeling of Gwydion, but as yet he has not tried to learn more or tap into it except once when in danger, in an effort to save his life.

Hawk is much more plot-driven than Storyteller, and it casts into high relief the pleasure I took from the episodic nature of the first book. Yet I very much appreciate that so far, each book has its own feel in terms of storytelling, and establishes these separate styles while keeping intact the established characters and the minor key approach I've come to associate with the series. It will be interesting to discover whether the third book has yet another shape. Deliberate or not, the change in style strikes me as mimetic, in parallel with changes evidenced in Gwernin’s character. ( )
4 vote elenchus | Jul 7, 2010 |
Second in the Storyteller series. Britain in the 6th century AD and once again Gwernin is travelling, this time with Taliesin's apprentice Neirin, heading towards the Pictish kingdoms in Scotland. Tensions are rising between the many petty kingdoms of the time and the Saxon invaders are also a threat. The loss of the Druidic culture and the rise of Christianity also has a part to play in this story.

What felt like fewer stories and more about the journey and encounters that Gwernin has makes this a more cohesive, less episodic book. For a picture of Dark Age Britain G.R Grove has written a wonderfully descriptive book. The land; customs and people feel as though they really existed. ( )
3 vote calm | Jun 29, 2010 |
We join Gwernin and Neirin, travelling throughout the north on a quest for Taliesin, and I found my interesting peaking up and down through the story. In the beginning (the first chapter being an exact duplicate from "Storyteller") of their adventures I was interested in following the two young men and seeing the new lands they were headed to. I felt there was a big slump in the middle, where they were doing a lot of more relaxed visiting. However, towards the end of the story, the plot picked up again, and I could hardly put the book down.
There was a lot more hard travel, as some other reviewers mentioned, and it made the adventure seem more real to me, especially when the pair encountered several serious problems along the way. I thought the repetition of the last chapter of "Storyteller" was unecessary for me, simply because I'd finished "Storyteller" only a short while ago, though I can see why it would be beneficial for other readers. Gwernin's signature tagline about a story for another day, is something I found even more unnatural this time around, and it felt forced in some chapters. Gwernin has matured since the first book however, and it's interesting to see how his adventures are shaping him as a man. His bond with Neirin is very touching as well.
The only thing that really bothered me was the very abrupt ending. The last chapter seemed more like a review of what happened, in place of actual events, and was very glossed over compared to the rest of the detail in the book. I was actually surprised that it was the end and wanted more (which is a good thing!) I'm looking forward to what happens in the next book! ( )
  MillieHennessy | Jun 25, 2010 |
The continuing adventures of Gwernin are detailed in the Flight of the Hawk, which picks up right after the events in Storyteller (in fact has a duplicate of the last chapter of Storyteller). The future bard is headed North to provide support to his friend Neirin in keeping the peace between the northern kingdoms and the Saxons.

The story is definitely maturing as Gwernin does, the adventures are much harder on the body and soul and require more mature way of thinking. There are more supernatural/unexplained occurances as Gwernin comes into his own which certainly give the story a more mystical air. I did find though that there were many side adventures that these two experienced, that at times I actually forgot why and to where they were travelling. By no means was this a fault in the book, as it provided many lively tales that were pertinent to the story. The reader is taken on their adventures through the telling of smaller tales. Again the chapters stand on their own and can lead the reader to get a bit frustrated at the end……frustration that leads you to keep reading to find out if more information will be forthcoming! After reading Storyteller I was more familiar with the author’s writing style and again found myself wishing for a crackling campfire to accompany me during my reading.

Overall a really satisfying read. After finishing I went to the author’s website and was delighted to that there was another book to the series! Can’t wait to follow the continuing adventures (and hopefully get some answers to all the foreshadowing in the previous books!) ( )
2 vote mjwensel | Jun 2, 2010 |
If it's possible, I enjoyed this book even more than Storyteller, the first installment in the series. Gwernin is again traveling, this time with Neirin, someone close to his own age who has been sent on a fact-finding mission by his master, the bard Taliesin. We see Gwernin grow more as a bard as he realizes just how much he has to learn and how important a role a bard can play in a king's court and in the politics of the world around him. There is again a little of everything - adventure, fighting, historical information, romance, and at times the suspense of not knowing how a situation would play out made it very hard for me to put the book down. I am very much looking forward to the next book! ( )
2 vote bunkie68 | May 13, 2010 |
Book two of the Storyteller Series is just as outstanding as Storyteller, book one. Set in 6th century Wales, the story follows young Gwernin on his second season away from his birth home. This time he travels with a companion close in age, Nierin, on a fact-finding mission as border raiding increases and war is imminent. Gwernin has realized just how much more he needs to learn before he can become a bard and how valuable the role of bard can be in finding a place in any lord's court.

The characters are richly described and much detail is given to the settings throughout the book. As in Storyteller, I enjoy how each chapter can stand alone as a tale while fitting into the storyline of the book. It's a fascinating format that allows the reader to leave with a sense of completion and come back later and continue reading with a sense of continuity. ( )
2 vote nanajlove | Mar 15, 2010 |
Flight of the Hawk is the second book in the Storyteller series. I enjoyed reading this book. I enjoy fantasy and historical fiction, especially anything having to do with the British Isles. In this book the central character, Gwernin, an apprentice bard, recounts his travels throughout Britain. As an apprentice bard he spends his time learning his craft and trying to master all the skills needed to one day be a full-fledged bard in his own right. He works on diplomatic skills as well as memorizing stories and songs. In this installment Gwernin travels to the far north, modern day Scotland, to fulfill the request of his master Taliesin.

Grove makes good use of historical sources to present the reader with a realistic world, true to the time period it represents. The characters seem relatable and human, they are down to earth and the story is more believable for it. This book was a fun and enjoyable read, I look forward to reading the rest of the series someday. ( )
  kkunker | Jan 26, 2010 |
This is the second book in the Storyteller series. While I enjoyed the first book, Storyteller, this book really blew me away. Was it because the characters were already familiar? I don't know, but when I started reading this novel, it felt like coming home.

I found the characters to be real enough to touch and the emotions charged and believable. I do not often get emotional with books - but this one got me. Sadness, anger, joy. This book is truly alive. The pace is active enough to keep the reader interested, but not so speedy that you can't put the book down for an hour or even a day when the need arises.

I agree that this book seems much more plot-driven than it's predecessor. The characters have a purpose - a beginning and ending point, though the story clearly could go on for many more books. I felt that Neirin's task set by Taliesin wasn't wholly completed, though that could have been because I was more interested in the personal aspects of the story rather than the political.

This was a great book and I look forward to reading more by G. R. Grove in the future. ( )
2 vote eidolons | Nov 18, 2009 |
Flight of the Hawk is the second book in the Storyteller series, and starts off immediately after the first one ends. In some ways, both books are very similar: each are almost episodic in nature, both are concerned with the art of telling a story, and both exemplify that art.

However, where the first book seemed to be largely about the telling of stories in general, this one is much more plot-driven and has a very specific story to tell. The individual chapters in this book are much more cohesive as a whole, and each chapter serves to move the story forward. As a result, this book doesn't have the same feel as the previous one did; this is a much more modern story, even though the subject remains the same. Whether this is an improvement or not relies soley at the taste of the individual reader.

Overall, this is a good sequel to a good story, and I look forward to reading the conclusion of this tale soon. ( )
2 vote wigster102 | Aug 8, 2009 |
This was a pleasure to read; a recreation of a fascinating time through the traveling stories of a storyteller. G. R. Grove uses 17-yr-old Gwernin, our storyteller and an apprentice bard, to recreate 6th century Britain, "in some ways the darkest part of the European Dark Ages." She stays true to the facts, honoring the sparse surviving historical details and archeology, even keeping perfectly to the landscapes throughout England/Scotland/Wales.

We follow Gwernin, and his partner Neirin (a real historical figure and bard) as they wander across the small Briton and Pict kingdoms based in Roman constructions that are in various states of ruin and reincarnation. We pass through early manifestations of modern cities like Chester, Manchester and Edinburgh. The Briton kingdoms are all on brink of falling to Anglo-Saxon raiders and invaders, while as the same time the Druid knowledge base is fading away, and being replaced by the relentless expansion of Christianity. Gwernin introduces us to a whole spectrum of the time period as he deals with different dangers from the weather to manipulative kings to the Saxon raiders.

The stories are simple and straightforward. There isn't a great deal of gore and Arthurian dramatic romance, although all that is there. Each chapter is a different story and each is drawn along by a mostly subtle tension. And each is a wonderful recreation of the era. These stories are just really nice to wonder through. Their factual base is part of the charm, inspiring me to pick up an atlas and follow along. If nothing else this a cure for a reading funk, easy to get into, and rewarding.

This is book two of the Storyteller trilogy. In some ways book one was a better book, but this story fills out a more complex and interesting world. Book three can go any of several directions and I look forward to reading it.

Note: On her profile Grove advertises that she is willing to provide a PDF copy of a book for a review. I took her up on the offer. ( )
2 vote dchaikin | Jul 23, 2009 |
In this sequel to Storyteller, we read of the continuing journies of Gwernin, who now travels much further to Britain's far north - what would become Scotland, but here is still the land of the picts. the travels also pass naturally through Rheged (modern day Cumbria and southern Scotland).

The author taps a rich well of early Welsh writings to flesh out the world she constructs. She draws on the sources we have from Rheged, as well as from the writings of Aneurin in Y Gododdin. As such, the 6th century British landscape is drawn vividly, with feeling and with attention to detail. She even works hard on her Old English to give the sense of Saxon otherness. You come away from this book with the strong sense you have visited the period in question.

My principle problem with the first book was the the lack of an abiding tension. This book deals with that - maybe not from page one, but read in a little way and the tension mounts to set up a delicious encounter with a nasty antagonist called Bleiddig (a Welsh/Brythonic name roughly translated as "Wolf" or "Wolfy"). The story was much better for this, and the writing remains consistently of a high standard. This book is definitely worth a read - especially for lovers of Welsh stories, stories of ancient Britain, historical fiction or fantasy. ( )
5 vote sirfurboy | Jul 10, 2009 |
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