Monday, May 2, 2011

Review of Outlaw by Angus Donald


Angus Donald

St. Martin’s Press

ISBN 13: 9780312678364

352 pages

It’s long been debated whether Robin Hood actually existed, in a 14th Century poem he makes an appearance and in the 15th Century he’s been mentioned in ballads but whether he’s fact or fiction doesn’t seem to lessen his popularity as he’s been immortalized in print, song, poem and in present times on film. One of the reasons he stays alive for us is because of the astute storytelling ability of some of his tale-tellers like for example this one.

In this fictionalized tale of Robin Hood we may find the most truthful version yet in Outlaw, the first in a new series by Angus Donald first published in the UK.
Between the years 1188 and 1189 is the timeline in this novel, Robin is the still the ultimate outlaw, he’s still madly in love with lady Marie-Anne and is public enemy number 1 with the Sheriff of Nottingham, we’ll find all the usual cohorts too including Tuck and Little John in addition to a few new names to add to the lore.

Angus Donald brings us his vision of the ultimate noir hero in “Outlaw”, book number one in the Legend of Robin Hood series. He gives us the bigger than life hero/villain but shows him in a more realistic light, emphasizing the cruelty and barbarism of the 12th Century in the guise of authority, he shows us the leftover paganism melded with the Christian world and he shows us beauty the likes of which may no longer exist in this world and in fact showing a more factual Robin Hood who would have lived, loved and thieved in England in the late 1100’s. The novel is narrated by Alan Dale, Robin’s troubadour who was taken under wing as a young teen after being caught stealing in Nottingham and saved from certain death by the Sheriff. The dialogue is conversational, interesting and descriptive, readers will be able to picture Alan as an old man recounting his tumultuous youth, writing down the good, the bad and the ugly in excerpts as he also lets us know what’s going on in his present. The characters in this adventure go above and beyond in their portrayals as we get legend, myth and history in one piece of work.
This is far from the Robin Hood of our youths on TV or in the movies, this is truly an adult story with explicit scenes of violence and sex, so keep that in mind as you choose where to store it and who to share it with.

If you like your folklore with a huge slice of realism packed with danger, adventure, drama and action, Angus Donald is your man. If you love historical fiction with a bite this is for you. If you like your myths and legends on the wild side, here you go.
To learn more about the upcoming novels visit the author’s website here
Buy the book here or here


  1. Deb,
    Robin Hood was always one of my husband's favorite stories, so I'll have to tell him about this book -- it sounds like one he'd really enjoy. My son and I both get a little squeamish with violence (although I have no problem with love scenes ;)), so I appreciate knowing to be aware of them in the story. Thanks for the review and the introduction to this novel!

  2. Hi Marilyn, I think your husband will really like this novel and even though I usually don't like violence either it just felt right here.
    Thanks for commenting and I'll chat with you soon.