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Holy Warrior: A Novel of Robin Hood (The Outlaw Chronicles) Hardcover – August 2, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
Book 2 of 5 in the Outlaw Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A lively and enjoyable book."
--The Daily Mail

About the Author

ANGUS DONALD is a longtime journalist, now novelist, and lives in England. He is at work on his next book in the Outlaw series.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Outlaw Chronicles (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031260436X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312604363
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,417,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nick Brett VINE VOICE on July 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I approached this follow up to the excellent "Outlaw" with a degree of trepidation. It had been a while since I had enjoyed Outlaw and I was worried that I might have forgotten where the story left off and it might be hard to get back into, especially with the recent Robin Hood film helping to confuse with another re-imagining of the story.

But I needn't have worried as I was swept straight into the story without the need for a re-cap. Holy Warrior is (like Outlaw) told from the perspective of the young Alan-a-Dale, impetuous, naive, trusting and religious who is both enthralled and afraid of the man we know as Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a complex character and certainly not a nice guy - a determined and clever gang leader making the best use of his circumstances. You sympathise with Dale's emotions because as a reader you switch between understanding Hood and then being disappointed with his actions. And the narrative is the perfect balance to shunt the fast paced story forward, but very much from Dale's perspective rather then a historic account (although much of the history is very accurate).

The story picks up from the point where Robin Hood (and his gang) have been pardoned by the returning King Richard and are preparing to join him on the third crusade to the Holy Land. By joining the crusade Robin Hood is fulfilling an obligation; he had no real belief or passion for the crusade itself.

The story starts in the UK placing Dale and Robin Hood in York at the time of the infamous Jewish massacre of 1190 but then moves them with Richard's army through to the sacking of Messina, conflict on Cyprus and then onto the siege of Acre where Richard ordered the cold blooded execution of 2,700 Muslim prisoners of war - a horrific act which stained the Crusade.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Donald spins a great tale, and I'm delighted he's tackled the Robin Hood legend as a major project. Having lived next to one of the remnants of Sherwood Forest for some years, it's fun to read about familiar places and revisit familiar tales. I grew up with the Richard Greene series and been less than impressed with more recent serializations: But Donald really fleshes out the characters and takes us into threads of the tale never told, as well. In this installment, Robin and his men follow Richard to the Outremer as reluctant Crusaders, instead of remaining in England as stay-at-home highwaymen.

I'm interested in the asides regarding Alan a Dale's later life as he writes his history, and where they may lead; Donald has a way of weaving threads that will become more solid fabric in later books. I'm moving on to the fourth of the series, with the fifth on order: I know it'll have to end sometime, but in the meantime it's a lively, enjoyable and well-researched romp.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alan Dale is the loyal oathman of Robin Hood in the 3rd Crusade. Robin Hood is a much different character than portrayed in movies as he is now in his post bandit stage and a landed nobleman. Robin Hood can be honorable and at times ruthless but always self serving. The story is narrated by Alan Dale looking back on the days of his youth. If you did not know you would think you might be reading Bernard Cornwell as the styles are so alike with one exception: While Angus Donald's battle scenes are explicit they to not take 30 or 40 pages of reading as is the case of Cornwell. With Cornwell it seems a third of the book is taken up with brutal chopping and hacking but Donald uses more pages to tell the actual tale which I found to be more enjoyable reading. The use of archers as the important part of any military force is also certified and Alan and Robin and other fictional characters fit in with real historical characters and events very well. From historical perspective the story also shows that Crusaders fought, raped and pillaged more cities and people on the way to the Holy Land than they did to Moslems when they got there.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second novel in a projected five part series called the Outlaw Chronicles: about the legendary Robin Hood and his band of outlaws. The story is told from the perspective of Alan Dale, a troubadour and warrior, a member of the band, who is now nearing the end of his life.

In this novel, Robin and his band, (including Alan) are preparing to join King Richard I as part of the Third Crusade which will attempt to retake the Holy Land from Saladin. As the story opens, Alan and Robin travel to York on private business and are present during the infamous Jewish massacre in March 1190. During their travels, which include the sacking of Messina, fighting on Cyprus and then the siege of Acre, Robin becomes the target of an assassination attempt, and Alan tries to track down who is responsible. Robin has other concerns as well: his wife has had a baby, and Alan himself falls in love.

Through the eyes of the young Alan Dale, we see Richard the Lionheart's participation in the Third Crusade - up to the battle of Arsuf in 1191. It's an interesting interpretation of the Robin Hood legend, and if Angus Donald's Robin is not quite the flawless hero I'd imagined throughout childhood, his participation in the Third Crusade makes an interesting read. As Angus Donald writes in his historical note: `- but it is the author's prerogative to place his fictional heroes at the centre of any historical catastrophe and have them emerge more or less unscathed.'

Angus Donald's Robin Hood is quite ruthless, and not always likeable. Alan Dale makes an interesting observer, with both lives woven around the history of the times. This is an action-filled work of fiction, set in turbulent times.
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