Monday, October 22, 2012

Outlaw by Angus Donald

So I finished reading Outlaw, the first in a series of novels written by Angus Donald. The story is about Allan Dale part of the infamous band of followers for Robin Hood. I've read a number of stories on Robin Hood and watched a lot of awful Robin Hood movies (and a couple okay ones)over the years, so I kind of suspected that this book would just follow along the beaten path with the legends like all of those others. Well, I was wrong. I also saw the sticker of on the front cover stating as good a Bernard Cornwell or your money back. That's not something I see very often and was very skeptical that this author, Angus Donald, could be that decent. Well, I was wrong.

I quite enjoyed the story of Allan Dale and the portrayal of Robin Hood, Tuck, Little John, and Will Scarlet from Allan's perspective. Its a much harsher Robin and John, very much in my opinion, a more accurate portrayal of what someone like Robin would be like in this particular period of time in England. There was of course a sort of ruthlessness one needs to be to survive and overcome. The story takes place right prior to the crowning of King Richard, and if I hadn't seen what the title of the second novel was, I probably would not have been able to guess how it ended.

The story is very much written like a Bernard Cornwell novel, definitely reminded me of the Saxon Tales in which Cornwell has Uhtred telling the tale, with the difference being that Allan is very much telling the story of Robin and of his relationship and history with Robin and not as much of himself like Uhtred does. Its very similar to Cornwell's Agincourt. So if you are fan of Bernard Cornwell's writing, you will probably like this book. I know I was pleasantly surprised by it, and that I definitely plan to read the next novel since it appears that Allan and Robin will be going on crusade with King Richard, a period of time that I do enjoy studying.


  1. I really hate Robin Hood.... I don't know why but it annoys me. I have read the original, Ivanhoe, which I recommend. It is bizarre but very interesting. It is definitely not like a Bernard Cornwell novel!

  2. I liked the concept as a kid, but mostly because I like seeing things from that period of time. Quite honestly though, most of the stories and movies about the legend of Robin Hood are not very good. I did kind of like the Ridley Scott take on Robin Hood, but not one of his better movies.

    This novel was actually pretty decent. Robin Hood is ruthless and charismatic and reckless and so is the period. And the story of Allan of Dale is interesting, there are long absences of Robin where the story revolves around Allan. Its an interesting take.

    One day I need to sit down and read a copy of Ivanhoe.