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Summary

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.

©2009 Angus Donald (P)2009 Library Magna Books Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I Might Become Reliant on Robin!

Many authors and producers have tried their hand at the legend of Robin Hood though why they bother I'm not sure because everyone knows that the definitive version was released by Disney in 1973. While Alan Rickman was of course outstanding as the Sherriff of Nottingham alongside Kevin Cardboard and Cary Elwes struck a stylish pose in his tights Peter Ustinov's Richard was their first and best Lion King.

So one can only guess at what persuaded Angus Donald to be the latest to take up a yew bow and give it a shot under such a giant shadow. Well, despite having to eke out its existence in the shade this is a genuinely exciting addition to the Robin Hood canon. This is a version of Robin that feels both gritty and realistic. You aren't going to get a fairy tale version of the man and his merry men and indeed this has all the violence, torture, gore and even paganism of a Cornwell version.

This could actually be my personal favourite version of the story which is told to us through the eyes of Alan Dale rather than Robin himself. Choosing the young Dale as he comes of age to gradually reveal Robin allows the man to retain a certain mystique for long periods of the book. And it is an exciting story with plenty of action, intrigue and some quite grisly scenes including torture, sacrifice and pitched battles.

This Robin Hood and those around him have a very real feel about them that works hand in glove with the author's chosen time period. They are well narrated in a fairly under-stated way by Graham Padden whose voice I enjoyed but for those who like a more demonstrative voice actor it might be worth listening to the audio sample first.

So, a great start to the series which gloriously stretches out ahead of me for another seven books. For those who don't want to commit to the long haul this tells a full tale in its own right and you could definitely treat it as a stand-alone if you wished to. I suspect I will spend quite a lot of future hours relying on this Robin for my audiobook entertainment.

15 people found this helpful

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What a drag!

I could only stand the first 2-3hours before I gave up,
The author spent so much time describing in detail what multiple charaters look like all in the 1st few chapters it's impossible to remember who looks like what or even the charaters names. And as far as i could tell very little actually happened to move the story along.
2-3 hours and only 2 things happened and 1 of those was meeting all the charaters. I mean the rest of this book could be a gem but am so disapointed in the start am not even going to try anymore.

2 people found this helpful

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Brutally realistic

Great historical story full of authenticity and brutal deaths which pulls no punches. The superb narrator's simple Northern no nonsense delivery really makes you believe he is a medieval thief then outlaw amongst the damp, mud and sh*t of the period. Excellent 😁😁😁

2 people found this helpful

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I didn't actually finish this.

Would you try another book written by Angus Donald or narrated by Graham Padden?

Probably not

Would you be willing to try another book from Angus Donald? Why or why not?

No, he's too violent for my taste.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Maybe a bit more expression. He was OK.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

My main reason for not finishing this book was nothing to do with the writing. I actually think the Author is a gifted story-teller, which is why I tried twice to read this. Telling the story from the point of view of one of the outlaws was a really nice touch too. No, my complaint was his interpretation of the Robin Hood character. While I think I understand what he was trying to do, put his own twist on the story and portray Robin as he probably would have been had he existed, to me, he missed the point. The whole reason Robin Hood is so loved is because he's not your typicle outlaw. He doesn't murder wantanly. He's not an inately cruel man and he cares for the suffering of others. He wouldn't have endured nearly so long if he was like Angus Donald's portrayal. I bought the whole series as I love everything to do with Robin Hood, but I'm sorry I did.

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliant book and love all the gory details.

loved it. i had read the paperback but want to list to the entire series. so i thought it would be best to start from the start.

1 person found this helpful

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good story but boring to listen too.

struggled to keep listening but was so deep in I did finish.
found the narrator slightly dull toned needed more expression.
was good to hear a different side to robin.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely fantastic book!

I wanted to try something different & found this book after a visit to Sherwood Forest. Really enjoyed this adventure of a story. Well written and narrated, it held my attention and I'll definitely listen to the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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An adventure to get your teeth in to.

Any additional comments?

I'd like to say it was a jolly romp through Nottinghamshire but it is not. What we have here is a gritty, realistic and graphic port rail of what life was like in this time period. It's always a bit mean to draw comparisons but this book is very similar in nature and delivery to the Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. For fans of historical adventure there are few books I have enjoyed more than this one. As long as you don't mind a few rather graphic descriptions of violence, and in one instance a young lad losing his virginity, you will almost certainly love this story. Definitely worth a credit.

1 person found this helpful

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Really interesting

Although there has been some criticism over the violent nature of Robin Hood character (who is no the "leading" character by the way), I must disagree. As the main character, Alan, describes the persona of Robin Hood is divided. He is as Friar Tuck says it "hot cold person". He has the strong inner circle for which he would do anything. And who is left out is literally left out. I have found the Outlaw series very interesting. But I guess that the same might go for this series. Those that like it, like it really much. But if you are outside the circle (might not like somewhat graphic violence for example) are really left out.

If you enjoyed Game Of Thrones in TV - here is a good place to continue! The final 8th book will be out next year, and I simply can't wait to listen to it.
Also note; the reader changes later in the series, but not for the worst!

3 people found this helpful

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Worth persisting

I started by thinking Graham Padden was a little mono tonal and was almost inclined to stop listening. However, there turned out to be more intonation than I originally suspected and an enjoyable story. I have even downloaded the next volume!

3 people found this helpful