by Angus Donald
Part of the Outlaw Chronicles series
When he's caught stealing, young Alan Dale is forced to leave his family and go to live with a notorious band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest.
Their leader is the infamous Robin Hood. A tough, bloodthirsty warrior, Robin is more feared than any man in the county. And he becomes a mentor for Alan; with his fellow outlaws, Robin teaches Alan how to fight - and how to win. But Robin is a ruthless man - and although he is Alan's protector, if Alan displeases him, he could also just as easily become his murderer...From bloody battles to riotous feast days to marauding packs of wolves, Outlaw is a gripping, action-packed historical thriller that delves deep into the fascinating legend of Robin Hood.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 416 pages, 1 map
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 23/07/2009
- Category: Historical adventure
- ISBN: 9780751542080
Showing 1 - 5 of 7 reviews.
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Review by shawse
A compelling telling of the Robin Hood tale through the eyes of Alan Dale. It was well told much much too vulgar for my tastes. I can't endorse it purely from the quantity of venereal text.
Review by DeltaQueen50
Outlaw by Donald Angus is the first book in a series based on the life and times of Robin Hood, and the author takes full advantage of both the myths and the movies about this well-known character. The currant belief seems to be that Robin Hood and the tales that grew around him were simply stories and songs about various outlaws of the Middle Ages. The story is told through the eyes of a young Alan Dale who, because of his petty thieving, must flee to Sherwood Forest and live as an outlaw under Robin Hood. All the familiar characters make an appearance from the beautiful Maid Marie-Anne, to Little John, Friar Tuck and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. I would class this as more of a historical swashbuckler as every other page rings with swordplay and adventure. Overall I enjoyed this book that felt more related to Bernard Cornwall and Ben Kane than to the more literary Hilary Mantel or Sharon Kay Penman. Lots of action with plenty of story, Outlaw kept the pages turning and held my interest throughout.
Review by Helenliz
This is a retelling of the Robin Hood myth. In order to try and make the tale fresh, this is told by one of Robin's men, in his reminiscence. And it is set a little earler than is usually the case - Henry II is still alive and Eleanor still his captive - and part of the tale plays out at her court. It is pretty bloodthirsty and the ladies are background characters for the most part. But it is certainly a brave effort to do something original with a well worn story and the sequel (which this sets up nicely) is clearly going to do that.
Review by Speesh
'Outlaw', is an enjoyable, even memorable, re-imagining and re-exploration if you will, of the Robin Hood legend. All our favourite fiends, friends and enemies are here - 'Maid Marion', Friar Tuck, 'Little' John, the Sherrif of Nottingham, and Guy of Gisborne - there's action and adventure a-plenty and it all takes place in and around Sherwood Forest.<br/><br/>But forget what you thought you knew of Robin Hood. There's no swinging happily through Sherwood Forest's lush, leafy glades, no slapping thighs while dressed in Lincoln green. He still robs from the rich of course, but he keeps more than a bit for himself, as you would. This Robin Hood is a successful leader, an inspiring personality, a friend, a lover - but he's also a constant, threatening presence; you're never entirely sure what he believes or what he will do next. It is the last throws of an older England, an ancient, honest England fighting to survive against the overwhelming odds of the all-conquering Normans.<br/><br/>However, the story is perhaps more about the young Alan Dale. From an impoverished childhood and an early - not entirely successful - career as common thief in Nottingham, he becomes involved with the real thieves and outlaws of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest. Typically, one (Nor)man's thief, is another (English)man's freedom fighter and Alan Dale is inexorably drawn to the outlaws through necessity and curiosity. The book follows battles to remain alive, his 'education' at the hands of themtough forest outlaws - but also from a whole host of troubadors, Knights, lords and ladies - through many adventures up and down England, leading to the Outlaws' final confrontation in Sherwood, with the seemingly superior forces of the Sherrif of Nottingham. It's not really a surprise that he survives, of course; he has already made clear that he is narrating this in the latter days of a long life, but it is genuinely interesting, not to say tensely exciting, finding out how he is to do it.<br/><br/>"And there are many here who have been forced to leave their families, their hearths and homes by so called law-men, by bullies who claim power of life and death over you in the name of the King...And there are many here who have been injured, humiliated and denied your natural rights as free Englishmen"<br/><br/>Yet there is another all-conquering force at work in this book's (not so) Merrie England; Christianity. It seems there are many ordinary free Englishmen who are still unrepentantly Pagan and in this, the book reminded me a lot of the struggle to keep the pagan faith alive, that is central to another book I read recently, 'Viking: King's Man', by Tim Severin. Indeed, 'Little' John is clearly Viking inspired.<br/><br/>Christianity is obviously the religion of the rich and powerful. It is a 'top down' religion, closely bound up with and indeed cynically used by, the Normans. Used to instil a fear of their 'betters' - and a fear of the consequences of revolt - in the ordinary people of England. As a Norman comments on a speech Robin Hood makes on the eve of battle;<br/><br/>"He talks like a ranting priest, but he rants about the most extraordinary Godless, unnatural things: Freedom from the Church? Freedom from our rightful lords, who have been set above us by God? What nonsense, what dangerous, heretical nonsense."<br/><br/>However, the older, Pagan beliefs, are closely associated with the fields and forests and wild places. An honest, down to earth faith. As a denizen of Sherwood, living in a seemingly Christian society, this Robin Hood uneasily straddles the two faiths. But, as a true man of the people, he is more Pagan than Christian. Or is he? Several times through the book, just as Alan Dale seems to have got a fix on Robin Hood's values, or what he believes; Robin moves in another mysterious way. He seems to hate Christianity and perhaps with good reason, for Christianity is bound up with the Normans, the two forces combining to oppress the ordinary, hard-working, pagan worshiping English people. Robin's honest, down to earth people need a hero, they need a new King Arthur and Robin Hood is it.<br/><br/>Was he a real person? He is surely, historically speaking, more a fantasy figure, than a real, historically provable figure. Robin Hood is almost certainly a coalescence of the ordinary people's collective hopeful imagination - hoping for inspiration, help and comfort against the oppressive regime of the Normans and the voracious march of Christianity. Much in the vein of King Arthur, who is mentioned many times in 'Outlaw'; Robin Hood is a rememberance of a glorious 'golden' age of England, now lost, the return of which needs an Arthur-like spear-head figure. Robin Hood.<br/><br/>Was he a real? Probably not. But if he had been, he would certainly more like Angus Donald's Robin, than all the Hollywood or tv studio versions you're more familiar with. Looking forward to getting hold of the next in the series.
Review by Floratina
READ IN DUTCH<br/><br/>I received a pre-read book of the Dutch translation of Outlaw, a Robin Hood story.<br/><br/> <br/><br/>My knowledge about Robin Hood was nothing more than 'He steals from the rich and gives to the poor', so everything is this novel was actually quite new to me.<br/><br/> <br/><br/>Alan Dale is the storyteller after he was forced to join them after he stole something in his early teens. We get a look in the lives of the people living in those woods and also into the history of 12/13th century England, with some political schemes and everything. Overall, I enjoyed reading this first novel in the new Sherwood series, it was a nice and quick read. I've since read the second book as well.
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