The Iron Castle

Written by Angus Donald
Review by Chiara Prezzavento

It is 1203, and Alan Dale is summoned to fight once more alongside his lord, the Earl of Locksley – eager to earn back the goodwill of King John, after his outlaw days as Robin Hood. Alan, an impoverished knight striving to save his manor, desperately needs the money, and so off he goes to defend Normandy against Philip of France and his allies. Once a mercenary in the service of the despicable John, though, he begins to question his choices – and Robin’s – until he finds himself among the defenders of the all-important Château Gaillard. Once the pride of Richard Lionheart, the fortress is purportedly impregnable, but soon Alan’s suspicions are aroused. Is there a traitor in the castle? Can Alan convince the High Council in time? And what will happen when he falls for the lovely Tilda Giffard, bent on enjoying life before her father ships her off to a convent?

If you have ever wondered what became of Robin Hood and his Merry Men afterwards, this book offers a perfect answer, well rooted in history, and fully as adventurous as the old legends. In the sixth instalment of his Outlaw Chronicles, Donald places his likeable hero in the thick of the action at the siege of Château Gaillard, and spins a compelling tale of war, duty, love and, above all, the way loyalty is given, returned, stretched to its limit, and sometimes lost.