Sam’s Words for Dessert: Outlaw by Angus Donald Review

Outlaw
Angus Donald
St. Martin’s Griffin – April 2011
Paperback
Gen. Fiction/Historical Fiction
384 Pages

In the tradition of Bernard Cornwell and Ben Kane, Outlaw is a rousing historical novel that mixes legend with fact to bring to life the time, the lives and the struggles of late 12th century England.  As the Henry II struggles with his rebellious children and the conflict between the Saxon nobility and the Norman conquerors continues on as bloody as ever, there is a figure that has remained firmly fixed in the imagination of generations – Robin Hood, an outlaw and a renegade nobility determined to bring down the men who took his land, his family, and his position.

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.

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So, like a lot of the stuff I read, I came across this book while I was at work. The cover didn’t really catch my attention, but the “A Novel of Robin Hood” written under the title did. The moment I read that line, there was the sound of a click and a bulb lit up in my brain. “Have I ever read the story, or any story, about Robin Hood?” The answer was no, no I don’t think so. It took a bit of contemplating because I already had a huge pile of books that were waiting to be read, but alas. I bought it anyway. I’m so happy I did too! Lately, I’d been reading slow-paced novels and this was definitely a nice change.

Since I haven’t actually read Robin Hood stories before, I’m much more familiar with the family/disney movie version of events. This telling of Robin Hood displays both, the good and bad, although definitely heavier on the criminal side than the kid’s movie fun. I mean, I don’t want to spoil this for you, but (I can’t help it) in the first chapter, they chop a guy’s tongue off. If that’s not stronger on the outlaw side of things then I don’t know what is haha.

I don’t want to go into too much detail on everything because it’s still fresh on my mind and if I’m let loose on the writing, I may as well spoil the whole book. What I will say though, is I had a hard time putting the book down. The former insomniac in me tried to tempt me into staying up all night to finish it. Unfortunately, I knew that getting an hour of sleep (having to be up at 4am the following morning) probably wouldn’t be a good idea if I needed to function properly the next day.

I’m only pointing out this fact because it’s been a while since a book has caught my attention this way. The last few books I read didn’t have me feeling conflicted by the lack of time I had to read. What else do I like about this book? Well, the awesome-ness of it isn’t over, because guess what, IT’S A SERIES. Yes that’s right. The 4th book is coming out this year so I got to hustle and read the other books.

Outlaw got 4 out of 5 cupcakes (maybe some extra icing and sprinkles on top too) and I recommend it for people who like Robin Hood, or just an action, fast-paced story. It has a nice flow, good writing and it’s not the kind of read that needs patience to get through (you only really need patience if you like it so much and you don’t have enough time to actually read it). :)

I may or may not come back and expand this review once I’ve gone through the book a second time.
(yes. I enjoyed it that much, I’m going for seconds)

Till next timeee~!

Sam

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