I am long overdue in reviewing this book, spurred on by the arrival in the post today of the third in the series (King’s Man).
I generally avoid anything connected with Robin Hood in order to avoid inevitable disappointment. I have the same problem with King Arthur. Every time I read a book or watch a movie about Arthur I am thoroughly disappointed, often bored, and usually aggravated by the clear problems with any hint of accuracy. Ditto: Robin Hood. I tolerate the Errol Flynn and Disney animated movies because they are wonderful escapism. The modern Robin Hoods that try to hint at a reality set my teeth on edge with their awfulness.
I happened across Angus’ first novel at the time I was busy touting my first and, against all my prejudices, gave it a read.
It is quite simply excellent, and broke my rules. Robin is far from the character you will see in Errol Flynn, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Costner et al. He is a villain, pure and simple. A mafia Don of his time. He is the Kray brothers. He is turf war gangster. The difference sold the whole idea, the series and the author to me.
I will say at this point that Robin is not the principal character of the book. It actually revolves more around the famous minstrel of the epics, Alan Dale, from whose perspective it is told. Alan is a character who grows all the time as you read and with whom you will sympathise.
The settings and actions in the book are wonderful and realistic and this is the closest, I feel, that any attempt at the telling of Robin Hood will ever reach to the truth behind the myth. Buy Outlaw. Read Outlaw. Love Outlaw. Review Outlaw.