In Hawk Quest we follow the epic journey of a small and shifting group of questers literally around the ends of the earth: from England to the west coast of Greenland, over the northern cape of Norway and into Russia by way of the White Sea. The year is 1072 AD, the Conqueror’s Normans remain busy subjugating Britain (through the time-honored means of rape, murder, and arson); the Seljuks have routed the Christians at Manzikert (in present-day Turkey); and Vallon, the intrepid leader of a motley, undermanned party, must try to stay one step ahead of the law.
Historian and enthusiastic falconer Robert Lyndon never lets you rest. One death-defying adventure follows hard on the heels of its predecessor. The small group must escape the British Isles with the law after them, get out of a feud in Iceland, battle North Atlantic tempests just to return east after capturing birds of prey in Greenland, and race the season’s onslaught in the Arctic Ocean. Then the real fun starts.
Through it all, the narrative energy never flags. Mr. Lyndon manages to fill a book three times the normal length and leave the reader ready for more. Because of its incessant tides of trouble and the party’s sometimes miraculous escapes therefrom, you will keep turning page after thrilling page.
What sold me on this book was the promise that Bernard Cornwell fans will like it. It does remind one of Mr. Cornwell’s Saxon Chronicles: it has the same bright verisimilitude; the characters are just as real, and just as highly skilled and heroic.
This is outstanding escapist fare. It will transport you, if I may be allowed to say that about a book portraying an epic journey. And will leave you hoping to see the characters reunited, however improbable its conclusion makes that.