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The Silver Hand

by Stephen R. Lawhead
Series: The Song of Albion #2
400 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jeanne

A gripping continuation of the tale woven in

Plot

In this sequel to Lawhead's "The Paradise War", Tegid the Chief Bard narrates the events as treachery overturns Albion and leaves the land in destruction. He and Llew (Lewis) must find the meaning of the prophecy spoken by the Banfaith in the previous tale.

Morality

Llew and Meldron are almost polar opposites in their morality; Meldron destroys, Llew builds and upholds. The horrors that Meldron inflicts upon the land are contrasted with Llew's kindness, and the usurper's treachery is a major part of the story. Toward the end of the narrative, an interesting point is made from the mouth of Simon, who accuses the kings led by Llew of feuding with each other for base reasons.

Spiritual Content

The men of Albion worship the Goodly-Wise (God) and Tegid praises Him often in his songs. He also prays to Him for mercy, victory against evil, and for wisdom and truth. Parts of the tale are reminiscent of Biblical narratives, such as Moses upholding the Israelites with his lofted staff. Tegid also chants in what is known as the Dark Tongue; his words seem to be invocations upon the Goodly-Wise One.

Violence

Battles and fights speckle the tale and, though not gory, are poignant enough for the reader to feel a part of the havoc as it is happening. Deaths from poisoned water are described; Llew and his band are shown a mountain of skulls; readers meet a man who has obviously been tortured. In one heart-wrenching scene, a person is flung off a cliff before Llew's eyes. Someone's hand is chopped off; another character is blinded.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Mead and ale are consumed, especially at a part where the water becomes tainted.

Sexual Content

In a ceremony near the beginning, Tegid passes a firebrand thoroughly over Llew's body to ritually remove any blemish. It is stated that a woman was raped by Meldron's forces and it is implied that the same happened to two others. Once again, a division of Llew's army fights naked to show their bravery; this is not sexualized in any way. Clothes are discarded for bathing - also not sexualized.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Cynan speaks an oath fairly often, but it is written in the proto-Gaelic language. "Pee" is used once.

Conclusion

"The Silver Hand" continues the fast-paced, gripping tale begun in Lawhead's "The Paradise War". Still told in the first person, this book is shown from Tegid's point of view and gives the narrative a fresh appeal to the reader. Subtle plot twists keep this story gripping from beginning to end; new characters are introduced, old characters brought to life; the prophesy of Gwenllian draws in mystery and suspense. Altogether, the spirit of the tale leaves the reader eager for Lawhead's next book of the trilogy, "The Endless Knot", which draws the Song of Albion to a close.

As before, the story was written for older readers and discernment should be used over the violent content where younger children are concerned.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

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