Lawhead is the author of many different fantasy, science fiction novels, both for kids and for adults, and has written many book series. He has written Celtic historical fiction as well. These series include the “King Raven” trilogy, “Dragon King” trilogy, “Song of Albion” series, the “Empyrion” saga, the “Bright Empires” series, “The Pendragon” Cycle, and “Hero” with Ross Lawhead. He has also written some stand alone novels as well. His children’s books include “The Howard Books”, the “Riverbank” series, and “The Brown Ears” books. His children’s fiction work was originally written for his two kids. All of his books have been translated into 21 different languages and remain in print.
He was born in Kearney, Nebraska in 1950 and would attend Kearney State University (that he would graduate with his B.A. in art in the year 1973) where he wrote a humor column for the newspaper there and his stories and his poems found their way into different publications too. He was able to make some money in college with his rock band called Mother Rush that he was the lead guitarist of. He married Alice Slaikeu in 1972 after the couple met the year before.
After that, he would take writing classes at Wheaton college while enrolled in a seminary. He would later write for Campus Life magazine in Chicago to start off his writing career. During his tenure here, he would write many articles and many non-fiction books. After his minor record company- that he was president of- went out of business, he started writing freelance full time in 1981. In order to do proper research on all things Celtic, he moved to England with his wife and two sons. His wife, Alice, is also an author; the couple have collaborated on some pieces together.
“Taliesin” is the first book in the “Pendragon Cycle” series, a historical fiction series that takes the Arthur legend and puts in some historical aspects into the story. We see both the fall of Atlantis, and Charis, a princess, as she travels with her family to Britain. At the same time, Taliesin gets trained to be a druid-bard. Charis and Taliesin meet and marry and later have a son, who is Merlin (or in this book’s case, Myrddin).
Fans of the novel thought that this was the best novel built around the Arthur legend, due to the sad love story, the involvement of Merlin’s parents, and Atlantis being a part of the novel. Some found this novel to be the finest example of writing by Lawhead; finding that he combines the historical aspects of this tale, with the mythology, and just plain great story telling that is in the book. Some found that it was hard to put down when they got into reading the book.
Some readers did not like how religious the novel is, finding that it is forced on the reader a little unwillingly. Some found that the plot went nowhere and they were unable to care about the characters all that much. Some found that the novel had too many details in it that were not all that relevant in it. Readers did not like that the women had personality but then got married and lost it all.
“Merlin” is the second book in the “Pendragon Cycle” series. This novel is narrated by Merlin (Myrddin). Myrddin tells of his upbringing, both with the priests and druids, and his training among the hill folk. Even his time as a king. He also has a romance with a princess name Ganieda, and his many years running wild through the woods before finally finding his destiny.
Fans of the novel liked the way that they were able to like Merlin even more after reading this book. They also thought that the shift from third person to first was right for this book, and found that this book was better due to the fact that it focused on Merlin, a favorite of a lot of people. They also found that the first person perspective showed Merlin’s personality and more of his mind that allows you to see through the man’s mind. Some found that the novel impressed them by the time they were done reading the novel.
Some readers did not like the way that Merlin becomes a Christian missionary that preaches that Christians are superior was revolting. Merlin is supposed to be link back to the pagans. Lawhead in this one does not write a gripping story, with meaning, but goes for more religious sentiment that makes the book feel more like a sermon and less like a retelling of famous character’s journey.
“Arthur” is the third novel in the “Pendragon Cycle”. Arthur, it was sang in songs by Taliesin, was to be king and bring peace, but a lot of people do not believe it due to the fact that he is a low born boy. He has been taught by Merlin how to rule. This novel is about the attempt, by Myrddin and Arthur to create a paradise place that they call Kingdom of Summer. Arthur is made Battlechief of Britain and Duke after drawing the sword from the stone. This sword is called Maximus. He must fight barbarians and Saecsens who have invaded to be accepted by his people as High King.
Fans of the novel liked the fresh perspective that was provided in this retelling of Arthur that also shows the other people who help Arthur get to his rightful place as king. They also liked the way that you can see the relationship between two old friends, Morgian and Merlin, there under the surface, but up top is much different due to everything that has happened to alter things.
Some readers did not like the novel due to the fact that it was boring and there was just a lot of fighting in the novel and not a lot of new things happening. Some found that the battles drag on too long and could have been reduced to not take up too much room in the novel.
He was given an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in the year 2003 by University of Nebraska. In 2008, he won Chrsty’s Visionary Fiction Award for “Scarlet”, a novel that retells Robin Hood’s story and puts it in Wales.
Books in order of publication by series:
Dragon King Books
|In the Hall of the Dragon King||(1982)|
|The Warlords of Nin||(1983)|
|The Sword and the Flame||(1984)|
Empyrion Saga Books
|The Search for Fierra||(1985)|
|The Siege of Dome||(1986)|
Pendragon Cycle Books
|Avalon: The Return of King Arthur||(1999)|
Song Of Albion Books
|The Paradise War||(1991)|
|The Silver Hand||(1992)|
|The Endless Knot||(1993)|
Celtic Crusades Books
|The Iron Lance||(1998)|
|The Black Rood||(2000)|
|The Mystic Rose||(2001)|
King Raven Trilogy Books
Publication Order of Hero Book
|City of Dreams||(2003)|
Bright Empires Books
|The Skin Map||(2010)|
|The Bone House||(2011)|
|The Spirit Well||(2012)|
|The Shadow Lamp||(2013)|
|The Fatal Tree||(2014)|
|In the Region of the Summer Stars||(2018)|
|In the Land of the Everliving||(2019)|
|Patrick: Son of Ireland||(2003)|
Howard Children’s Books
|Howard Had a Spaceship||(1986)|
|Howard Had a Submarine||(1987)|
|Howard Had a Hot Air Balloon||(1988)|
|Howard Had a Shrinking Machine||(1988)|
Brown Ears Children’s Books
|Brown Ears at Sea||(1990)|
Riverbank Children’s Books
|The Tale of Jeremy Vole||(1990)|
|The Tale of Timothy Mallard||(1990)|
|The Tale of Annabelle Hedgehog||(1990)|