Stephen R. Lawhead
Atom (Little Brown), 2006, £12.99, Hardback,448p., ISBN 1904233708

Hood is an excellent book in many ways and an exciting read in a swashbuckling style. It is a tale of the real Robin Hood aimed at a teenage audience, though at forty-six chapters it is rather long – it could translate into a good film.

There is rather a lack of romance, which may disappoint female readers, though there is a girl called Meriam in the picture. I found it difficult not to keep thinking of the Robin Hood legend I grew up with. The book retains many elements of that and I am sure it is more historically accurate. The main theme remains the triumph of good over evil though in Hood it is more the triumph of the Welsh over the French invaders.

There is involvement of the Clergy nearly all the way through with one Friar Tuck character in particular. I found the use of old Welsh words such as “Ffreinc” for French and “marchogi” for soldiers slightly off putting and feel a younger reader would almost certainly find that a bit difficult.

The descriptions of the forest and the Cantrells (settlements) are excellent and you are certainly transported back to eleventh century Wales. I found the ending a bit inconclusive – but it is probably not possible historically to finish neatly.

Contributed by: Anne MacRitchie, MSC, part-time Information Assistant for NHS Grampian and CLIS Scottish Regional Representative.