Outlaw (2009): Angus Donald

★★★★

The Outlaw Chronicles: Book I

Angus Donald’s name crops up a lot in the historical fiction forums over at Goodreads and so I was rather chuffed to stumble across a copy of his debut novel in my local second-hand bookshop. As you know, I find it hard to resist novels about Robin Hood and I was interested to see how Outlaw would tackle this character, whom I’ve recently come across in two very different fictional forms: romantic, noble and quietly traumatised in Lady of the Forest, and psychotic madman with a Messiah complex in the most peculiar Hodd. It’s proven to be a good read, full of colour and historical flair.

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Hodd (2009): Adam Thorpe

★★★

This was my first encounter with Adam Thorpe and I can honestly say it’s one of the oddest books I’ve ever read. As a piece of literature it’s creative, subversive and intelligent. As an evocation of a historical period it’s utterly convincing, conjuring up the mixture of religious fervour and folk superstition that formed the medieval mindset. And yet, while I admired the achievement, I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it.

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Lady of the Forest (1992): Jennifer Roberson

★★★½

A Novel of Sherwood

When I reread The Golden Key some months ago, and realised that Jennifer Roberson had written my favourite section of the novel, I asked for recommendations of her other books. Elaine kindly suggested Lady of the Forest which, by complete chance, I found in my local charity shop last weekend (despite the fact it currently exists only in an out-of-print American edition).

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