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The Wounded Hawk: Bk. 2 (Crucible Trilogy) [Paperback]

Sara Douglass
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

15 April 2002 Crucible Trilogy

The second book of The Crucible, an exciting new historical fantasy from the author of the popular Axis Triology.

The plague has passed and for a while it seems evil has been defeated. Europe recovers; prosperity returns, trade resumes, and people slowly recover from the effects of the plague.

Then, just as the Church relaxes its guard, war spreads across Europe. Widespread heresies challenge the authority of the Church. Revolts and rebellions threaten to topple the established monarchies and overturn the social order of Europe. And then the plague returns, worse than ever.

Neville eventually discovers the cause. The minions of the Devil have been scattered throughout European society during the confusion of the Black Death. His task is to discover the identities of these shapeshifters so that the Church can move against them, but it is a dangerous task. They are master shapeshifters so he can never be certain of who he should trust.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 610 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; New Ed edition (15 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007108478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007108473
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 918,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The heroic fantasy novels of Sarah Douglass--and The Wounded Hawk is typical in this respect--are deeply in love with moral ambiguities and with heroes keep on trying to find the right thing to do despite the fact they often unclear about the situations they find themselves in. Like its predecessor in "The Crucible" series, The Nameless Day, The Wounded Hawk takes place in a truncated late Middle Ages in which the deposition of Richard the Second, the Peasant's Revolt and the career of Joan of Arc are taking place in the same time frame; Douglass's neurotic warrior-priest hero Thomas Neville is deeply caught up in the intrigues of a Bolingbroke who is something other than human. Like Joan, Thomas regularly has chats with the angels; unlike her, he has learned to distrust them deeply and cast his loyalties elsewhere. This second book takes the premises of the first book and places an ever more complex spin on them; Douglass is sparing with her revelations to a point that makes us genuinely keep guessing what the real truth is about the relationship of heaven, hell and earth, and exactly which characters are human or authentically semi-divine.--Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Praise for previous books in The Axis Trilogy:

‘BattleAxe is the best Australian fantasy novel I’ve experienced to date.’
Martin Livings, Eidolon

‘Enchanter is utterly enthralling and unputdownable.’
Karen Brooks, OzLit

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's the Goodie? 11 Oct 2001
I started this book and was sooo unsure of whom to trust in the book, I stopped at the end of the first chapter and raced out and bought the first in the series, _The Nameless Day_. While _ND_ set the scene, I hadn't realised that Ms Douglass was screwing with my brain. Her narrators are unreliable; everyone's morally ambiguous.
It makes you question religion (a good thing, right?); it makes you think about the nature of love/marriage; and for all those angel lovers out there (gag) this makes you think there are bad ones too--or are they bad?
I set this book in one of the University courses I teach--my students love it too. Can't wait for the next one--and I HATE fantasy books...but this one is multi-layered and multi textured. Great research Sara--keep them coming.
Warning: if you found Harry Potter's books satanic/offensive DO NOT buy this one :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow what an imagination 28 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must read, this Lady had a wonderful ideas for a great story. I could not put it down. .
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wounded Hawk will fly again... 10 Jan 2005
Following on from the Nameless Day, Thomas continues his mission to rid the world (or perhaps just England) of the devil. Hampered by King Richard who takes a dislike to our hero, and through Hal's desire for the throne, the devil in the story is not who Thomas thinks it is....
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but confusing. 27 Sep 2001
By A Customer
Sara Douglass's new book "The Wounded Hawk" is both fascinating, but also confusing. It continues the story of Thomas Neville and of Joan of Arc, beloved of God, in their Battle against evil. It contains the rich writing of Douglass, with its fascinating settings and people. However it bears no relation to historical reality (to which the author bears wittness too in the prologue of her first book). The book also loses its plot and descends into confusing counter plot as the book develops. Gone are the reassuring good-vs. evil of "The Nameless Day", now there is no reality, just confusing sub-plot piled upon sub-plot. Where, one asks, will it all end?
This is, as I said above a fascinating read, however, it does need tightening up a little. To read this book however, a good knowledge of the Nameless Day and of Middle Ages/ Reformation history is essential because of the Charectors.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars carries some of same flaws but better than first, strong 3 15 Jun 2005
By B. Capossere - Published on
Set amid the drama and cast of the 100 Years War (though more parallel than true history), this sequel to The Nameless Day continues the story of Thomas Neville, former cleric returned to his noble life, as he tries to complete the quest given him by archangel Michael--to retrieve a mysterious casket that will allow him to send back to hell the demons that now roam the world. As readers of the first book know (and only readers of the first one should read this), Thomas himself has become unsure of just which side is the "good" one in the battle between the demons and angels and his uncertainty continues throughout this book, though not quite as pronounced.

Though plagued by some of the same flaws as The Nameless Day (some character inconsistencies, some surprisingly careless writing), Wounded Hawk manages to easily avoid the "middle book" syndrome. Instead of acting simply as a weaker bridge book to the trilogy's conclusion, Wounded Hawk expands and deepens both the characters and the story, improving on its predecessor in all ways.

Some of the improvement occurs because the character/plot inconsistencies, while not completely evaded, are much reduced. Some of the improvement occurs because the main character of Thomas recaptures some humanity and thus is a much more palatable character with whom to spend hundreds of pages. Improvement also lies in the book's tighter focus, mostly centering around a few personal relationships and the royal politics of England, specifically the battle between Richard II and Hal of Bolingbroke. It's also a better paced book, with scenes moving quickly and (usually) smoothly from one to the other, with no sense of being bogged down. The plot, while still containing some twists and turns, some shifts of allegiance, is crisper and cleaner, less of a muddle than in book one. The characters are all much more interesting and are captured much more fully, even the secondary ones.

The book's flaws are pretty much the same as in Nameless Day, though as mentioned they are greatly reduced. There are still annoying (though not infuriating) inconsistencies in character thoughts/actions and in points of view. Douglass has a tendency to tell us too much rather than allowing us to infer from actions or dialogue. Some actions seem a bit implausible. And some shifts in characters' beliefs seem to move all too quickly. Noticeable as these are, however, the book's strengths outweigh its flaws and I found myself pretty swept along in what was happening even as I found myself occasionally annoyed by how it was being presented. Certainly if you've read book one and enjoyed it, continue the series. If like me you had mixed feelings about book one, I'd strongly recommend giving the sequel a chance as it's so much better. And if you really didn't like book one at all, then you're not reading this anyway so blah blah blah.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant use of historical facts in a supernatural context 14 Nov 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Thomas Neville, once a priest in the Dominican order, is married to Margaret; they have a daughter he loves dearly, but he doesn't love his wife because the Angel Michael told him she was demon spawn like all daughters of Eve. Thomas' mission is to find Wynkyn de Worde's casket and use the book inside to send the demons back to hell. He doesn't know who to trust but believes King Richard II is a demon and that Duke Hal Bolingbroke, the next in line for the throne, should rule.

Over time his feelings for his wife turn to love, an emotion that Jesus sanctified in a vision to him. The king and his lover Robbie Devere are bankrupting the country, turning the peasants against him. When the king exiles Bolingbroke without charging him with anything the nobles turn against their monarch as well. Just when it looks like Bolingbroke will achieve his dreams, Thomas learns the secret that he and his wife share that if revealed could cost them both Bolingbroke and Margaret their lives.

Fans of Judith Tarr's historical fantasies will love THE WOUNDED HAWK, a brilliant epic novel that uses authentic historical facts in a supernatural context. This romantic fantasy answers many of the questions in THE NAMELESS DAY but there are still more yet to be answered in the next book THE CRIPPLED ANGEL. Although not a religious book, the author provides a unique take on angels, demons, Christ and God. The tortured hero is torn between his love for his wife and the veneration of an angel; he knows it is his destiny to choose mankind's path, a decision he fears but will make when the time comes. This superb tale will appeal to speculative fiction readers.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first, but not without flaws 30 Jun 2006
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on
The middle book of the Crucible trilogy is better than the first, but not without its flaws.

Thomas Neville, our protagonist, is slightly more bearable this time around, having shaken off some of his old vows and old prejudices. It's a beautiful thing watching him come to love his wife Margaret, and reexamine some of his beliefs.

Meanwhile, Richard II is ruling cruelly and ineptly, Thomas's boyhood friend Bolingbroke is beginning to make his play for the throne, and in France, Joan of Arc urges a reluctant king to act against the English. Douglass has taken some liberties with chronology, but it doesn't matter much, as her timeline works for the story and she explains in a foreword that she *has* used some creative license, so it doesn't jar at all.

What does jar a bit is the head-hopping; we seem to bounce from POV to POV several times per scene. Also, the scheme that Bolingbroke and Margaret execute, with traumatic results for Margaret, just doesn't quite make sense. I feel like I was supposed to either find it reprehensible or decide it was worth the eventual outcome, but instead? It just doesn't make sense. I can't figure out why these characters would have chosen that route.

On the positive side: Douglass builds to a big bang here. The secret that Thomas discovers is as shocking as it needs to be, and raises many questions about what will happen in the third book.

Finally, one more quibble. When Douglass sets her mind to it, she can write gorier scenes than many writers of outright horror. (I'm thinking of the miscarriage from Hades' Daughter.) I got almost to the end of The Wounded Hawk and was pleased to think that she'd kind of toned down the gross-out.

Then I read the epilogue. Let's just say that Douglass reassigns Edward II's gruesome death to another figure--and describes it. In detail. In excruciating detail. Yes, the guy was a vicious character. But I don't want to read about that happening to *anyone*.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The distinction between good and evil is blurred even more... 16 Jun 2006
By danielle - Published on
The Wounded Hawk by Sara Douglass is a continuation of the Crucible Series, with The Nameless Day being book one. In the last book, Thomas Neville cast aside his friar robes and reclaimed his Lord title and lands. He is still arrogant but he grows more likeable in The Wounded Hawk: he is now married to Margaret, the woman he detests, but as he discovers more about her and her desire for his love, he, oh so gradually, softens! He still seeks the casket that contains the books to cast demons into Hell, but the quest somewhat slows as other dire events call his (and all of England)'s attentions.

All the major characters return, and the focus is on certain people and relationships; the last book was mostly spent on Neville but not this time! The newly crowned Richard II, with his promotions of his lover Robert "Robbie" de Vere, is causing nobles to grumble, especially Hal Bolingbroke (Duke of Hereford) and Neville, who still thinks that Richard is the Demon-King that will threaten mankind. The peasant dissenters that seek freedom from serfdom rise and deal some damage to the English kingdom. Douglass also turns our attentions more to the Maid of France, Joan of Arc. There is an interesting scene where the ladies inspect Joan and find out why, exactly, she really is a virgin. We also examine Hal (who seems too good to be true, until chilling confessions are made), Margaret (is what you see what you get?), Catherine (the ambitious sister of the meek Charles. She loves Hal but who exactly is she?), and so many others.

I cannot lie and say, "There is never a dull moment." Overall the plot is moving but there are sections of the book that failed to make an impression on my memory. There are also actions and dialogues that seem incongrugous in respect to their characters. One minute so-and-so is brash, the next minute he whimpers and sheds tears.

In The Wounded Hawk, the plot, richly woven with history, advances greatly, with so many of its characters coming into bloom (and a few to their demises), but of course Douglass keeps readers wanting more by omitting certain explanations of key people. The question of who is truly good and evil is blurred. People that seemed like, well, angels, may not be the saints we think they are. Even St. Michael and Jesus Themselves are put up to scrutiny, and trust me, it is shocking.

Oh, and the epilogue is perfect: karma comes to haunt a man who had caused hell on earth for a certain woman.

I highly recommend this series: some parts are slow going and there are flaws in the plot and character development, but overall, it will keep you enraptured as I was: going for hours at a time just reading, reading, reading!
4.0 out of 5 stars Historic Fantasy on a Grand Scale 1 Sep 2006
By J. Rice - Published on
After a relatively tedious introduction to the Crucible Series in The Nameless Day, Ms Douglass has risen to the fast-paced narration and vivid characterizations which she renders so well in book 2. The portrayals of well known figures on the stage of history are refreshingly new, sometimes strange, but largely believable. The intertwined fantasy theme whereby the Judaeo-Christian angels are seduced by human females to procreate a race of demons which may only be destroyed by a human surrogate is certainly imaginative and novel, but lacks credibility, despite its commonality with the Zoroastrian view of the pagan pantheon. I am looking forward to the final book 3 resolution of this 14th century tale.
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