Saturday, January 06, 2007

Robin of the Hood

I had some extra time yesterday and sat down at a Barnes and Noble to browse through Hood by Stephen Lawhead. After reading through the first several chapters I decided I couldn't wait and bought it. This book is outstanding. It's a retelling of the Robin Hood myth except this time the Prince of Thieves is a young Welsh nobleman, Sherwood Forest has been replaced by the wilderness between Cymru and England, and the bad guys are French. It just couldn't get any better.


Seren said...

Sheesh! These old legends! We've just had another version on the BBC - 21st century Robin, caring, sharing, nappy changing, modern man. Didn't work.

My personal favourite was the Tony Robinson interpretation, 'Maid Marian' where Maid Marian was the brains behind the brawn and RH was a self-absorbed narcissus. Great stuff! (although intended for 5-10 year olds)

Actually although the historical context has changed slightly, being put back to 1093, it doesn't alter the dynamics of the story. Original Hood legends was Saxon outlaw (RH and men) pitted against harsh Norman Overlords (Sheriff of Notthingham, Guy of Gisborne, King John. Now it's confused Welsh princeling against the Nasty Normans. If you want a good background to Anglo-Norman-Welsh politics in the 12th century read Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter. Otherwise take with a large tablespoonful of salt and enjoy the story.

Also read about Hereward the Wake and his guerilla warfare against the Normans in Eastern England. There are some suggestions that RH based on that.

Scriptorius Rex said...

So far I'm enjoying the way Lawhead is working in the legendary characters like Marian, Little John, and Friar Tuck. Quite clever.

Seren said...

Let me guess - Little John is Ieuan Bach, Marian is Y Ferch o Penderyn or some such thing.

Baddies - do the de Breoses rate a mention?

or are they not real historical characters?

Scriptorius Rex said...

Crikey! You're either psychic or Welsh! (Yeah, I know I know the answer to that.) Falkes de Breose is the snivelling French princlet who takes over the cantref of Elfael with a grant from King William the Red. Marian is likely the fleetingly introduced character that RH is trying to become familiar with but I can't remember the spelling of her name. Little John's name is Iwan. Friar Tuck is a Saecsen named Aethelfrith and Iwan cannot pronounce his name so he compares him to a tuck bag and the merry men begin to assemble.