With a subtitle like 'meet the godfather of Sherwood forest', it was almost impossible for me not to read this book.
Alan Dale is both the main character and the narrator. The story starts when Alan is 13 years old, he's taken to thieving to ease his mothers burden as his father had been hanged 4 years previous. All the usual Robin Hood characters are present, Friar Tuck, Little John, Will Scarlet and Guy of Gisborne.
The story is far more brutal than the fairy tale versions I am used to. Robin is presented as a far more ruthless man, as the title suggests, more of a gang leader than the merry outlaw of the movies. I found the change quite interesting and it felt like the author was attempting a more realistic version of events. The many references to the young man's "prick" were mostly unnecessary, especially in the details provided. On the whole it was a nice change from the romanticized version of the Robin Hood story.
I am looking forward to the next book in this series- Holy Warrior. I connected with the characters in the Outlaw . The author does a great job in creating gripping and spellbinding action. I loved this book.
Good stuff, I liked this well enough to buy the 2nd in the series.
Great read and interesting take on the traditional stories. Looking forward to the next book in the series (three more at the time of writing).
This tale of Robin Hood is dark, bloody and completely unromantic. This is not a story about a hero for the oppressed. Robin rules the forest and the people with an iron fist and is quick to dispense bloody punishment for transgressions. It could be an interesting concept but I had trouble seeing it. Robin has the loyalty of the people and Alan, the narrator of the story, loves him as does Friar Tuck but I don’t know why. The indefinable qualities that made him a leader of men, someone who draws people to him didn’t really come through. Alan was sympathetic at first but the more I got to know him the less I liked him and the less I wanted to see him succeed. I wanted to be able to root for someone in this story and I couldn’t. I wanted to want to know these people, and I didn’t. There is a lot of action. Sword fights, recues, betrayals, battles and lots and lots of killing. I like that Tuck was conflicted about his loyalty to Robin and there were some things he would not take part in. It gave a sense that Robin’s actions were not being totally excused. Donald does a good job of bringing the setting to life and by putting the meaning of some of the words right in the text (i.e. ‘he swung a heavy falchion, a thick bladed sword’) manages to keep it authentic without sending you to the dictionary. It is a harsh, grim, sometimes even vulgar story so don’t go looking for fairy tales here. There is enough fighting and blood to satisfy any action lover but it is the action that drives and carries the story and not the characters. And though I liked to book well enough I would have liked to see a little more balance between the two.
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