For 60+ years I have been fascinated by the legendary Robin Hood. I have believed that he was a composite of more than one individual highwayman in 12th and 13th Century England. Consequently, I was thrilled to find this series by Angus Donald entitled “The Outlaw Chronicles.” There are nine books by Mr. Donald according to his website related to Robin and his crew. He ranks with Bernard Knight and Michael Jecks as top notch writers of late medieval historical fiction.
Many readers probably have their image of Robin Hood and his band of “Merry Men” from viewing the many Robin Hood movies and from Howard Pyle’s classic tale. Donald’s account in Outlaw: A Novel of Robin Hood is slightly different. First of all, it is told by Alan Dale (or Alan-A-Dale). Second, the way Robin meets Friar Tuck and Little John is slightly different than Pyle’s accounts. We learn a little more about Guy of Gisborne’s back story. Maid Marian is now Lady Marie Anne and a ward of Queen Eleanor and King Henry II. The King is still alive as this story begins, and Richard the Lionheart is in France protecting Aquitaine and Normandy from the French. Book 1 ends just before the beginning of the Third Crusade to free the Holy Land from Islamic control.
There is plenty of action with army versus army combat and duels between individuals. There is some romance but I do not recall much sexual content. At the end of the story, Donald does give some facts and suggestions. There are powerful looks at life in 12th century England 100 years after the Norman Conquest. It also lays the groundwork for the Magna Carta that was produced in 1215.
If you like history and fiction, if you like mythology, you will enjoy this book. I look forward to reading more.
GO! BUY! READ!
–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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