Book Review: Hood

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting.
Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Stephen R. Lawhead's latest work conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare yourself for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.

Hood was a great novel to follow up The Fool's Tale, as it's set in Wales around the same time frame, so I had a context for the political backdrop. Which is not necessary to enjoy the book (and it does a fine job setting up the political turmoil). The book also has a pronunciation guide in the back, which was also helpful.

So this is, obviously, a retelling of the Robin Hood myth, except it's pretty plausible. Robin in this case is Bran, a hotheaded Welsh prince. And the backdrop is less Sheriff of Nottingham and more Norman/Saxon/French overlords seizing the property and lives of Britons. It is definitely historical fiction that borders on fantasy, as there's deeply furrowed mysticism (which makes me want to read ancient Briton mythology) that plays a crucial role in character development.

This also mostly follows Bran becoming the man he's destined to be, before he's the known outlaw, and before the appearance of an Allen a'Dale or Will Scarlet character (although Little John, Maid Marion, Guy of Gisbourne, and Friar Tuck are all in this story). The next book in the series is title Scarlet, so I suspect those other iconic characters will make their way into the narrative that way.

In all, it was enjoyable, both for the recognizable elements of the classic tale, and for the story of a hero coming of age. And because I'm developing a keen fondness for all things Cymry. 

I recommend it for fans of historical fiction, especially during the medieval era, especially England and thereabouts. Also for fans of magical realism and mysticism, and ensemble casts. 

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