February 24, 2009


The second book in Lawhead's King Raven Trilogy, this time the story comes from the view of Will Scatlocke, or Will Scarlet. Will has been captured and is recanting his tale to a priest in the service of Abbot Hugo. Will is a very likable character we get to see Bran in a new light; as the leader of his people. I'm only listing the cast of major characters not found in the Hood entry. There are new characters in Scarlet and some characters from Hood have been expanded. Please look at both entries for an in-depth casting.

"After losing everything he owns, forester Will Scarlet embarks on a search for none other than King Raven, whose exploits have already become legendary. After fulfilling his quest--and proving himself a skilled and loyal companion--Will joins the heroic archer and his men.

Now, however, Will is in prison for a crime he did not commit. His sentence is death by hanging--unless he delivers King Raven and his band of cohorts.

That, of course, he will never do.

Wales is slowly falling under the control of the invading Normans, and King William the Red has given his ruthless barons control of the land. In desperation, the people turn to King Raven and his men for justice and survival in the face of the ever-growing onslaught.

From deep in the forest they form a daring plan for deliverance, knowing that failure means death for them all.

Scarlet continues Stephen R. Lawhead's riveting saga that began with the novel Hood, which relocated the legend of Robin Hood to the Welsh countryside and its dark forests. Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medival Britain, Lawhead's trilogy conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood." - Book Jacket

Dramatis Personae

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Will Scatlocke (Will Scarlet)- Will is a forester in search of his place in the world after the French destroyed his home. He hears stories of men living in the forest and seeks them out. He is tall, ruggedly handsome, and nearly as good with the bow as Bran himself.

Martine McCutcheon as Noinina- Noin is a pretty young woman who was rescued from the French. She has a young daughter, perhaps 3 or 4 years old. Most of Bran's single men have had thoughts of courting her, but for whatever reasons, they have not. There is a mutual attraction between her and Will.

Jesse Eisenberg as Brother Odo- A young priest who scribes Will's story for the benefit of Abbot Hugo, who hopes to uncover where the rebels are located. He is skeptical of Will at first, but he soon gets caught up in the story and reluctantly begins to like Scarlet.

Ray Winstone as William Rufus- Rufus is the King of England. He is known for his red hair and fiery temperment. Bran and the others have hopes that Rufus will be able to restore the throne to Bran, but the King is away strengthening his claim to the throne.

Jason Issacs as Sheriff de Glanville- The Sheriff of the region, his responsibility includes keeping the peace and flushing out decenters. His top priority is to uproot and eliminate the theives living in the forest.

Tchéky Karyo as Baron Neufmarche- The Baron has plans to expand into the Welsh territory and sides with native people over his fellow Frenchmen. He believes if he can help them oust de Brouse, they will be more receptive of his taking over the region.

Emmanuelle Béart as Agnes Neufmarche- The Baron's wife. She is a frail woman who rarely goes outside. She does, however, have a strong spirit and will stand up to her husband when the need arises. She has led a fairly sheltered life and becomes sympathetic to the Welsh's plight.

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February 17, 2009


A fiction based on the classic Robin Hood story we all know and love. However, Lawhead attempts to root out the true origin of the tale and presents a more realistic and historically accurate depiction. The setting is not placed in Sherwood Forest, which was actually fairly small and wouldn't be able to hide Robin and his merry men from anyone for long. Instead, Lawhead has placed the story within Wales, where there was huge swaths of undeveloped territory that stood as a buffer zone between the English and the Britons. The story is so plausible that it is hard to remember this is a fictional novel. With Hollywood's recent success with darker origin stories (Batman Begins, Casino Royale, Wolverine, etc.), I believe this would do well. The story is familiar favorite, but this telling has enough changes to keep you on your toes. I've included the classic characters they represent in parentheses if possible. All the heroes we love are in the book, but the villians are sometimes confusing. Just when I think I've pegged who represents the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John, new characters are introduced that also fit the role, leading to the idea that the tale was simplified over the years in retelling, until we get the story we know today.

"What will you do with your life now that you have it back?

These words from the wizened old woman taunt Bran ap Brychan, heir to the throne of Elfael. She has saved his life and for that he is grateful, but her demands are growing more insistent. Bewildered, yet fascinated, Bran sits night after night by the fire and listens as the ancient crone sings the long-forgotten songs of the Elder World- a realm of warrior queens and princely champions, of dangerous deeds and queer enchantments...and a terrifying creature called King Raven.

Born into a position of privilige, Bran has grown up headstrong and selfish, rebelling against his tyrant of a father. But now his father- king of the Welsh borderland cantref of Elfael- has been killed by Norman invaders, his lands have been seized, and his people have been enslaved.

It falls to Bran, a marked and hunted man, to defend his people and regain their homeland.

Hood is a tale of loss and triumph. Vice and virtue. Power and corruption. Justice and mercy.

Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Stephen R. Lawhead's latest work conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare yourself for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood. " - Book Jacket

Dramatis Personae

Jonathon Rhys Meyers as Bran ap Brychan (Robin Hood)- Incredibly good-looking and charming, Bran ap Brychan, Prince of Elfael is considered the most eligible bachelor of the region. However, Bran shirks responsibility and abuses his privileged position to chase his interests, which changes day-to-day. He is tall with dark hair and due to his training with the best warriors, he is possibly the best archer in the region.

Ray Stevenson as Iwan (Little John)- The king's champion and leader of his warband, Iwan is a large man and a great warrior. He and Bran have been friends since childhood, despite the age difference between them. Iwan is 5-10 years older than Bran. Iwan is determined to see Bran back on the throne of Elfael.

Tommy Flanagan as Siarles- Before Bran arrived in the forest, Siarles was Iwan's second in managing the refugees in the forest. When Bran arrives, he becomes one of his trusted advisors. He is a lean, tall man who is suspicious of all new-comers and is predeposed to surliness.

Jane Alexander as Angharad- Angharad lives in the forest and is decribed as "a hag with a bent back and a face like a dried apple." However, she can play the harp and has the most beautiful voice anyone has ever heard. She is the Chief Bard of Britain, the last of her kind. She saved Bran's life and set him on the path to become a hero of legend.

Robbie Coltrane as Aethelfrith (Friar Tuck)- Tuck is a very short, very fat man. At 6'1, Coltrane is definitely too tall for this character, but I think it worthwhile to overlook this fact as he would be able to nail the role in every other way. Tuck is playful and adept with a staff. He does, however, believe that God speaks to him personally and provides much comic relief in the book.

Emily Blunt as Lady Mérian (Maid Marian)- Mérian is the very beautiful daughter of King Cadgwen, a neighboring cantref of Elfael. She is headstrong and has very pointed views of a woman's place. However, she is also mesmerized by the beauty and formality of the French court.

Mathieu Amalric as Count Falkes de Braose- de Braose is described as a slender young man, not much older than Bran. He is very ambitious in his vision of what Elfael will become under his rule, but is forced to use its people as workers to meet the demands of his uncle, the Baron de Braose. He tends towards naivety, sometimes brutality, and doesn't understand why the people don't accept his rule.

Ciarán Hinds as Abbot Hugo de Rainault- He was once a high-ranking member of the church and whispered as a possible candidate for the Papacy. However, he supported Robert as the legitimate heir to the throne of England and lost everything when William Rufus seized control. He has hopes to rise again with a new start in Elfael.

Olivier Martinez as Guy de Gysburne- The youngest commander under Baron de Broase, he has accepted a position in Elfael to further his ambitions of wealth and fame. Bran and his men steal the wagons that Guy was guarding, embarrassing Guy's first chance of responsibility. He takes the theft personally and vows to capture the theives. ßPin It

February 13, 2009

Nightingale's Lament

"John Taylor has just solved the mystery of two friends' deaths when he is called to another case. Charles Chabron wants Taylor to contact his daughter, Rossignol (French for nightingale), a young singer who has fallen under the sway of the ruthless Cavendishes, a husband-and-wife management team. Rossignol used to sing upbeat, happy songs, but now her set is so melancholy that people leave her show and commit suicide. After visiting Rossignol at the Goth club Caliban's Cavern, where she performs nightly, Taylor knows something is wrong. When he goes to the Cavendishes' management company, a pair of somnambulists beat him mercilessly, leaving him near death and with no one to turn to but Pew, an old enemy. With the help of Dead Boy, a deceased mugging victim who now fights criminals, Taylor tries to locate the Cavendishes' former protege, Sylvia Sin, and find a way to rescue Rossignol from the couple's clutches. The latest installment in Green's Nightshade series is a delight--exciting, action packed, truly suspenseful." - Booklist

Dramatis Personae

Joe Flanigan as John Taylor- Taylor is the protagonist of the story. He describes himself as tall, dark, and not particularly handsome. He's the stereotypical detective from old B-movies. He's a down-on-his-luck detective who lives out of his office. He has a talent (as in, a magical talent) for finding things.

Daniel Ratcliffe as Dead Boy- "Dead Boy was 17. He'd been 17 for over 30 years, ever since he was murdered. He made a deal to come back and avenge his death. But he didn't read the fine print, which didn't mention being able to lie down again. He does good deeds in hopes of breaking his contract and is an expert on death. He is a walking corpse, possessing his own body and while it doesn't decay, it also doesn't heal. So Dead Boy must stitch and staple his body together whenever he get damaged.

Zooey Deschanel as Rossignol- Rossignol is an up-and-coming music act that is taking the Nightside by storm. Unfortunately, her music is inspiring people to commit suicide. She is French, five feet tall, slender, with jet black hair, pale skin, and ruby red lips. Overall, she has a very elegantly goth look on stage.

Hugo Weaving and Vanessa Angel as Mr. and Mrs. Cavendish- Emotionless and robotic-like, they had that look actor one receives too many face-lifts. They look very much alike and there are rumors that they are also brother and sister. Their speech and movements are eerily synchronized.

Gavin Rossdale as Billy "The Jonah" Lathem- The Jonah is trying very hard to live up to his father's, who was a power in the Nightside, name. However, John is not impressed, as they grew up together. He used to want to be an accountant, before he decided there was no money in it. He dresses in a very formally in a midnight blue tuxedo complete with scarlet-lined opera cape.

Julian McMahon as Julian Advent- Also known as the Victorian Adventurer, he was the greatest hero of his age. He fought all the evils of Queen Victoria's time and never once looked like losing. He was tall, lithely muscular, impossibly graceful in an utterly masculine way, with jet-black hair and eyes, and an unfashionably pale face. Handsome as any movie star...he still wore the black and white formal dress of his time. He currently owns and is chief-editor for the Night Times, the Nightside newspaper. ßPin It

February 10, 2009

Agents of Light and Darkness

"I'm John Taylor. I work in the Nightside- the gaudy, neon noir, secret heart of London, where it's always three in the morning, where gods and monsters make deals and seek pleasures they won't find anywhere else.

I have a gift for finding things. And sometimes what I'm hired to locate can be very, very dangerous indeed.

Right now, for example, I'm searching for the Unholy Grail, the cup that Judas drank from at the Last Supper.

It corrupts all who touch it- but it also gives enormous power. So I'm not the only one hunting. Angels, devils, sinners, and saints- they're all out there, tearing apart The Nightside, seeking the dark goblet.

And it's only a matter of time until the realize that the famous John Taylor, the man with the gift for finding things, can lead them straight to it..." - Book Jacket

Personae Dramatis

Joe Flanigan as John Taylor- Taylor is the protagonist of the story. He describes himself as tall, dark, and not particularly handsome. He's the stereotypical detective from old B-movies. He's a down-on-his-luck detective who lives out of his office. He has a talent (as in, a magical talent) for finding things.

Katee Sackhoff as Suzie Shooter- "Also known as Shotgun Suzie and Oh God it's her run! A tall blond Valkyrie in black motorcycle leathers, Suzie is a bounty hunter. She nearly always brings them in dead rather than alive, because it's less paperwork that way."

For recurring characters, please see Something From the Nightside.

Keira Knightley as Jessica Sorrow- Her unbelief is so strong, if she concentrates, she can uncreate anyone, causing them to disappear forever. An description from the book: "She came striding down the aisle towards me, naked and emaciated and corpse pale, the heavy flagstones exploding under the tread of her bare feet. Her eyes were wide and staring...she had no hair, her face was as drawn and gaunt as the rest of her, and her eyes were as yellow as urine...she was hardly five feet tall..."

Bernard White as Jude- A priest and librarian from the Vatican sent to hire John Taylor to find the Unholy Grail. He "was a short, stocky type with a dark complexion, kind eyes, and jet-black hair and beard, both carefully shaped. He wore a long, flowing coat of a very expensive cut."

DJ Qualls as Nasty Jack Starlight- An entertainer that performs exclusively for the dead (vampires, ghouls, zombies and the like). He performs with a partner, a living rag doll that rumor has it, was once human. He dresses in a Harlequin suit of black and white squares and his face was made up to resemble a human skull. "Tall and gangling, he danced with more deliberation than grace and his voice soared along with the melancholy song."

Helena Bonham Carter as Belle- "Tall and elegant, beautiful and sophisticated, supernaturally slender." She armoured herself with trophies from her victims. She wore a werewolf's pelt which allowed her to regenerate, a breastplate from a dragon's hide, gloves of vampire skin and other items that granted her useful magics.

Billy Connelly as Merlin- Merlin needs no introduction. He is covered in blue druidic tattoos and wore a crown of mistletoe. His hair was long and gray, falling past his shoulders in convoluted knots, and stiffened here and there with clay and woad. ßPin It

February 2, 2009

Something From the Nightside

This book represents the saying, 'life's a journey, not a destination.' The story itself is fairly predictable. But the personality of the characters are so fun to watch unfold that you don't mind the predictability. The story itself is short and would need some work to be successful in Hollywood. The story would translate better to TV, I think. It definitely has an English feel to it; it would do extremely well on BBC.

"Taylor is the name, John Taylor. My card says I'm a detective, but what I really am is an expert on finding lost things. It's part of the gift I was born with as a child of the Nightside.
I left there a long time ago, with my skin and sanity barely intact. Now I make my living in the sunlit streets of London.
But business has been slow lately, so when Joanna Barrett showed up at my door, reeking of wealth, asking me to find her runaway teenage daughter, I didn't say no.
Then I found out where the girl had gone.
The Nightside. That square mile of Hell in the middle of the city, where it's always three A.M. Where you can walk beside myths and drink with monsters. Where nothing is what it seems and everything is possible.
I swore I'd never return. But there's a kid in danger and a woman depending on me. So I have no choice- I'm going home..." - Book Jacket

Dramatis Personae

Joe Flanigan as John Taylor- Taylor is the protagonist of the story. He describes himself as tall, dark, and not particularly handsome. He's the stereotypical detective from old B-movies. He's a down-on-his-luck detective who lives out of his office. He has a talent (as in, a magical talent) for finding things.

Rebecca Romijn as Joanne Barrett- John's client. She's a 'tall good-looking blonde who reek(s) of money and class.' She has an aristocratic air about her and is used to getting her way. Despite her looks, she is tough and handles the mysteries of the Nightside better than expected.

AnnaSophia Robb as Cathy Barrett- Joanne's daughter. She's has a very outgoing personality and enjoys going out clubbing. She is very organized and is very much her mother's daughter. She doesn't take crap from anyone.

Micheal Pitt as Alex Morrissey- Alex is the owner of Strangefellows, a seedy bar that John frequents. He's in his late twenties, but looks 10 years older. Alex is thin, pale, moody, and always dresses in black. He wears a black beret to hide his bald spot. He's always in a bad mood and has a permanent scowl on his face.

David Bowie as Razor Eddie- "also known as the Punk God of the Straight Razor, is one of the more distressing agents for the Good that the Good ever had. He sleeps in doorways, lives on handouts among the homeless, and kills powerful people who need killing that no-one else can touch. All in penance for the many sins of his youth."

Katee Sackhoff as Suzie Shooter- "Also known as Shotgun Suzie and Oh God it's her run! A tall blond Valkyrie in black motorcycle leathers, Suzie is a bounty hunter. She nearly always brings them in dead rather than alive, because it's less paperwork that way."

Oliver Platt as The Collector- He collects items, from anywhere and anytime. He can time travel back to find rare items lost to the world. He will steal, cheat, and lie his way to obtain any item. He's overweight with a smile that doesn't reach his eyes.

Ralph Fiennes as Walker- "Always dressed in his smart city suit, complete with bowler hat and umbrella and old school tie, Walker runs the Nightside, in as much as anyone does, or can. He represents those grey faceless characters the Authorities, always hidden in the background. They gave Walker a Voice that must be obeyed. There are those who say Walker used it to make a corpse sit up on a slab and answer questions. People say a lot of things about Walker, and unfortunately, most of them are true." ßPin It
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