Autumn 1191 and Robert, Earl of Locksley, also known as the notorious outlaw Robin Hood, and his loyal lieutenant Alan Dale, are returning home fresh from victory in the Third Crusade. They decide to travel via the Mediterranean sea-route, despite the dangers of the imminent stormy season. Disaster strikes and Robin and his men are shipwrecked on the rocky coast of Crete. They must persuade despotic local tyrants to help them, outwit brutal pirate chieftains, and outfight an entire Moorish army to gain a fabulous glittering prize, wealth beyond the dreams of moneylenders, and carry it safely home to England – the Caliph’s Gold.
I recieved an arc copy from the author. I have not read all the books in the series, but this one I had to read. Epic Pirates of the Carribean style action in gleaming marble cities of the Saracens and olive-filled islands of the Byzantine Empie? Count me in!
This is why we need way more adventure in historical fiction. This is why I read historical fiction. This is why I LOVE historical fiction. In this book, you’ll be transported to the World of the Crusades, Saladin’s conquests, and the powerful Almohad Dynasty that ruled most of Northern Africa for this time. You’ll feature rogue pirates, Byzantine warriors from an age that has already long surpassed the legacy of Rome. You’ll find Byzantine soliders in the island of Crete firing with javelins and slingers, the same way that their Roman ancestors did. You’ll encounter yourself in the life of a galley slave. Brutal.
More than not, you’ll find that all the call for religion is just a desparate power-play. The Crusades can be said as that much. Alan of Locksley is a character that you will grow to love, but also hate at the same time. Angus has done a huge amount of research, and you’ll be transported to the gardens of heaven, you’ll find yourself in the gleaming white domes of Tunis and Valenica, and wonder the fabled streets of these cities. I am so glad that the Byzantines have been added because they are really neglected in terms of the studying of history. They were still an important power to be reckoned with. You’ll find that the Earl of Locksley, Robin, is a cruel and dangerous man that is ruthless but he isn’t as cruel as some of the villians that you’ll encounter in this novel.
And all of this book is about Robin and his team, Alan, Little John, and Hanno landing in the Island of Crete, offering their services to the Byzantine Governor, and then raiding the Saracen port which houses an unknown treasure of gold from the Caliph. They slaughter the Byzantines, take the ship and go on a rollicking journey where they have to face a treacherous Arabian captain named Iqbal, who really is not trust-worthy to say the least. The fighting styles in this novel are absoutely awesome. You’ll find yourself in battles with Saladin’s men, you’ll be in the oceans, and you will visit an exotic part of the Mediterran’s history that needs to be explored. I love the descriptions, and wished more books were set in the Ancient Near East etc.
There were some characters that I loved: Nikos, who I feel for the sad young man, and Sir Charles. I’ll leave that for you to figure out. I did feel Nikos needed more scenes, being as he is the son of the Byzantine Governor of Crete, but he needed more of an apperance. I wanted way more Byzantine interference, because the Byzantines were a clever people. They still had the traits of their ancestors even if they were Christians. I also loved Tariq, who held honor, and Hanno, but the Emir of Valenica…he is a ruthless character. And Little John is also fun.
A total 10/10. Fantastic work. I want to see way more of this. It is also free on KU and is currently £4.99 so buy it now!