1194, England: As this book opens, Templar assassin Guy de Gisbourne, born as noble Gamelyn Boundys, camps in the Shire Wode forest with a motley band of outlaws. His Templar masters have charged him with discovering the Druidic secrets held by Hob-Robyn, and delivering this ancient magic to the Grand Master of the Temple. But other ties bind Gamelyn to this forest band. Gamelyn’s forbidden love for Robyn Hood, and his affection and respect for the Maid Marion, conflict with his oath to his Templar masters. The magic of this dark forest and the old and powerful forces it harbors call to his heart, while his vows to the Templars bind his intellect. This struggle plays out against the siege of Nottingham and the return of King Richard the Lionheart to English shores.
This book, volume four of the Wode series, continues Hennig’s creative and magical retelling of the Robin Hood story. The book is not a quick read, but the tapestry Hennig weaves is intricate and worth the interested reader’s effort. The characters are complex, and the world the author creates is equally so; I was reminded of the writing of George R. R. Martin. I had not read the other volumes in this series, but Hennig provided enough backstory in this volume to give me a rough gist of past events. However, I did feel that reading the previous three volumes in the series (Greenwode, Shirewode, and Winterwode) would have contributed to the richness of the story and my understanding of this book. A fifth volume in the series is planned. Recommended for lovers of historical fantasy, the old religion and Druidic mythology, and those fascinated by the story of Robin Hood.