Outlaw 3: King’s Man
After Outlaw and Holy Warrior, I simply couldn’t wait for the ordinary trade paperback of King’s Man. I bought the outsized ROI edition and then also the kindle version. And I don’t regret it.
Outlaw was an astounding debut for me. It challenged my perceptions of Robin Hood, created a whole new epic around him and kept me rivetted, It also showed Angus’ not inconsiderable knowledge and in-depth research into an era that is very complex and vast.
Holy Warrior took the tale in a different direction and, while a more mature story , was darker and more troubling, though no less a great read. It made me fear for the future of the series, given my changing views of the principal characters, in much the same way as (as a sad Star Wars fan) ‘Empire’ is dark and troubling. In those dark and troubling tales real change and growth and character are brought out.
Then: King’s Man. Quite simply it is a breathtaking book. While the previous two novels were very much separate stories in a series, this has bound the whole group together, drawing on a great wealth of detail from both previous works and using them to weave a spellbinding story based around Richard I’s detaining in Germany after the crusade.
Obviously, that is not all there is to the book, but it is the main post around which the hall of King’s Man is constructed. The story includes dangerous journeys through foreign lands, ordeals of holy inquisition, troubles with Templars, an unusual and excellent view of medieval London, sieges, warfare, assassination and so much more.
I was astounded to see the return of some favourite characters that I had not thought to see again, and the introduction of some new classics (Rix – wow what a character). An extra note worth making is that Alan has grown so much by the 3rd book that he’s no longer the impressionable child of the earlier works, but has really come into his own, showing a real taent for character growth.
I could go on about character, description, plot and more, but only at the risk of rendering the review to long to be readable. So I will finish with this:
King’s Man is the best of Angus’ novels to date and one of the best novels I have read, period. It is beautifully written, with care to detail and surprises and twists that knocked me aside. The story is a true arc and no tiny detail is left unused and ignored. I fear now for the upcoming ‘Warlord’, for I find it hard to see how Angus can improve on this.
Whether in Hardback, Outsize pb, upcoming trade Paperback, or e-version, read this book. If you have read the first two, grab your reading list and push this to the top. If you have not, read all three back-to-back. I cannot recommend it any higher than that.
Brave, Angus. Bravo.