It is very rare that a debut book causes such a stir before it is even released but Hawk Quest was one of them. When writers as good as Ben Kane and Anthony Riches are extolling the virtues of this book, you know you’re in for a real treat.
We follow Vallon and Hero as they embark on the quest to capture 4 rare white Hawks from the frozen tundra of Iceland. The hawks are payment for a ransom, demanded by the Moorish Emir who has captured a young Norman Knight, Sir Walter in battle. Vallon and Hero travel to the recently conquered England to pass the demands onto his parents. As they travel though England the see at first hand the brutality of the new Norman overlords and the resentment of the oppressed Saxon population.
The duo agree to travel to Iceland to capture the rare white Hawks and on the way collect a motley group of misfits who each bring something different to the group. Wayland the Hunter, Raul the gruff Solider, Garrick the sailor, Syth, the love interest, Richard the delicate brother of Drogo and Sir Walter. They also collect enemies who are determined to stop them. Drogo, brother of Sir Walter who wants to stop them to preserve his inheritance, Snorri and Thorfinn the Vikings who wants to rob and kill them, Helgi the Icelandic noble who sees perceived slights everywhere and of course, deal with the Emir.
We follow the group as they travel the length of war-torn Britain, into Scotland and the Orkneys then across to Iceland, they visit Greenland, Norway and the land of the Rus before finally arriving in Anatolia. Along the way they encounter hostile Vikings, Laps, Russians and Seljuk riders as they struggle to bring the hawks to the Emir. On the journey they all discover strengths and limitations and only the leadership and determination of Vallon keeps them together. Can they survive and bring the Hawks to the Emir in time to save Sir Walter?
This is an epic story, covering most of Northern Europe and into the Mediterranean. The descriptions of the various countries are amazing, he describes in stunning detail the ravages of war on the English countryside, the bleakness and harshness of Iceland, the barren and dangerous coast of Greenland and then tough journey to Russia and finally to the heat of Anatolia. He introduces arrogant Norman nobles, downtrodden English peasants, Vicious Vikings, tough and hardy Icelanders, ruthless Lap hunters, Russian Princes and finally the Muslim Seljuks who hold Sir Walter captive.
I have rarely enjoyed a debut novel so much, it is such an ambitious story for the first novel but Robert Lyndon has pulled it off. I can not reccomend this book enough. A true page turner!
Hawk Quest has just been released in Hardback