Title: Robin Hood The Two Torcs
Author: Debbie Viguié and James R. Tuck
Publisher: Titan Books
Published: August 2016
Evil is everywhere. Through terror and dark sorcery, Prince John wields the power of the throne. Lord and Peasant alike meet violent ends as the Sheriff’s arcane beasts spread fear and death.
A daring group of rebels opposes John striking from the Sherwood forest… the one place his creatures cannot pursue them. Furious at the opposition that has risen against him, the Prince prepares to tighten his grip on the land left in his care by King Richard. But Robin Longstride has lost everything- his family, his land- so all that remains is his mission to free England from the evil that has descended upon it.
Unless Robin and Marian can fulfil the ancient prophecy of the Two Torcs, the forest will be overrun and England will fall.
The second novel of the Robin Hood: Demon’s Bane series has finally landed.
This is one of the best Robin Hood adaptations I have encountered. Reflected by a formidable pair of writers in Debbie Viguié and James R. Tuck, this book remains true to the era but refreshingly, women and men hold equal sway and value. There are no damsels in distress to be found here, the characters are as rich and vibrant as the forest that they inhabit. On both sides of good and evil, each protagonist is incredibly complex and even those on the side of evil are given credibility, and the reader is provided the opportunity to empathise and understand them in their endeavours. This is not a traditional good versus bad romp, this is an exploration of struggle, motivation, strategy and desire in the best style.
The writing works on so many novels. Where the supernatural has featured in many interpretations of Robin Hood, I was sceptical at first that the book would delve into the Fey of the forest in a way that would be clumsy and overdone as can be the error of so many writers that have gone before.
I need not have worried, having between them featured on the New York Times best seller list and as established authors, Viguié and Tuck skillfully intertwine both Fey, demons and witchcraft in way that is completely credible to the story line and which now I cannot imagine this universe without.
The story is traditional in some senses in terms of the battle between Robin, the Sheriff and the usurper Prince John. However, in this narrative, Robin, Marian and the Merry Men are by turns having bloody battles, fighting demons and saving Sherwood by solving complex problems presented to them by the Fey. The arc so far has introduced us to Prince John and the Sheriff, both as masters of the dark arts and in this case much scarier than they have ever been portrayed before. Developed with a deft and sinister style that never teeters into being overdone or comical, these are villains to be feared and taken seriously.
The pace is constant and the reading experience itself becomes very intimate thanks to the development of the characters and the constant and particularly unrelenting nature of the perils and battles. This is all occurring amongst supernatural threat and seemingly insurmountable evil.
Each book ends with a cliff hanger of the best kind. Our heroes left with no way out and the reader hooked for the next fix.
GS Rating: 5/5
GS Blogger: The Aviator