28 October 2012

Holy Warrior by Angus Donald

Holy Warrior --4 Stars

This is the second book in the series and yes, you do have to read them in order. I picked up the first book a few years ago and loved it, this was no different. We continue following Alan Dale and his master, Robin Odo (Robin Hood) as they keep a promise that Robin made to go to the Holy Land and recapture Jerusalem from Saladin. There are plots to assassinate Robin, kill Alan, and destroy the King's position, although he can do that all on his own anyway.

While not for the faint of heart, this is a novel that is historically accurate to certain degrees. King Richard the Lionheart did indeed go to the "Holy Land" and fought Saladin, though never face to face. He also burned through massive amounts of gold to accomplish this pilgrimage. While Alan Dale didn't truly exist, there were many like him. Many who fought through Sarasen  hordes did so because they believed it to be a noble quest that would secure their place in heaven, no matter how often they had to deny Christ's law to love your neighbour as yourself.

I love that this is a fast pasted novel of battles, loyalty and betrayal. A story a young boy forced to become a man with a sword and shield. A telling of Robin of the Hood like we've never seen before from an author who knows how to mix fiction and fact in a beautiful way in which you are no longer sure where one starts and the other ends.