Review: The Death of Robin Hood – Angus Donald

the-death-of-robin-hood-angus-donald5 of 5 stars

Series:
The Outlaw Chronicles 8

My version:
Hardback
Historical Fiction Robin Hood
Sphere
2016
Bought, signed

England rebels

War rages across the land. In the wake of Magna Carta, King John’s treachery is revealed and the barons rise against him once more. Fighting with them is the Earl of Locksley – the former outlaw Robin Hood – and his right-hand man Sir Alan Dale.

France invades

When the French enter the fray, with the cruel White Count leading the charge, Robin and Alan must decide where their loyalties lie: with those who would destroy the king and seize his realm or with the beloved land of their birth.

A hero lives forever

Fate is inexorable and death waits for us all. Or does it? Can Robin Hood pull off his greatest ever trick and cheat the Grim Reaper one last time just as England needs him most?

Well, if you can get to the other end of this book and still see to read the historical note, without blinking away the moisture that suddenly seems to be in your eyes, you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

That feeling when what you’re reading transcends a genre to speak directly to your heart, some how managing to sum up exactly what you feel. I’ll never read anything better than those last few pages.

It’s perfection. It’s the only way it could have been. It’s fictional, yet it’s so, so real. I don’t want to read another book. I don’t want to be brought down to earth. I want to be where Alan is, with Robin and Little John, and Goody and Tilda and all of them. Forever.

I’ve been put through the wringer. Emotions welling up and unashamedly bursting out. Isn’t it strange what black ink squiggles on a white page can do to you? How just one of the infinite ways of arranging the words can strike you so perfectly. How one line can sum up all that has gone before in eight volumes and be so perfectly, fittingly final. How much you the reader bring to a work. How much an author unknowing of you and your life or current circumstances, can see in to your head and heart and write it for you to read.

I’m not ashamed to say I had to stare out the window, lost in the real and imaginary world and shed a tear for all those friends, real and fictional, now departed.

I thought that this review would pretty much be a review of the series as a whole, without too much specific about The Death of Robin Hood. I thought Angus had perhaps peaked with The King’s Assassin and the final, ‘old Alan’ passages of King’s Man (I think it was). Boy, am I wrong. Nothing can have prepared me for the absolute flawless final chapter of the series. Yes, I knew it was actually going to contain the death of Robin Hood (!) in one form or other and I had wondered how Angus would do it. I had a kind of scenario working away as I read. However, I’m a useless sod. I had no inkling it would be this way. This right.

It’s a lot of responsibility this book has, to round off a series as ambitious as The Outlaw Chronicles. It does it, it pulls it off and then some. I suddenly got more of an idea of how much Robin had really meant to Alan. And of course, how much losing him meant. And how much Alan meant to Robin. By saying “I will never leave you,” Robin neatly reverses what Alan has always promised his lord. Robin, behind the scenes, always, sometimes unknowingly, valued Alan much more than we ever realised and always had Alan’s back. Alan needed someone, some thing, to believe in all the way through. Of course, given the period, there was God, but he also always had his lord, Robin Hood. Robin also always believed in Alan. The two became one. And so, if Angus has done nothing else with his superb series, he has surely, for future generations – when they think Robin Hood, they also think Alan Dale.

A deeply moving book, and above all, a perfect end to the series. Heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, uplifting, hopeful, perfection. Could not be better.

You can buy The Death of Robin Hood at Booksplea.se

Related reviews on Speesh Reads:

OutlawKing's Man 2The King's Assassin

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