The story of Robin Hood, written from the different perspective of the author’s own interpretation of a familiar tale, Wolf’s Head is the first in a planned Forest Lord series.
Set in Yorkshire, Robin is a yeoman’s son living with his family and friends in a typical English village during the reign of Edward II. The characters are from the known cast of the time-honoured Robin Hood stories – John Little, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet et al, in addition to a few non-familiar names. The story is also of the familiar theme; young Robin becomes an outlaw and gains the admiration and respect of those who follow his stand against the authority of the King.
McKay paints a realistic portrait of social unrest and the desperation of men who had no choice but to roam outside of the law, to seek shelter in the woods and forests, and survive as best they could. The life of the period is well written and researched, although there are several historically accurate slips, and the dialogue is perhaps more contemporary than giving a feel of the past. Some readers may not approve of the more “earthy” language used. .
The original version submitted for review was rejected because of incorrect formatting – the HNS insists on mainstream standard production regarding font, text setting etc; quality presentation is even more essential in indie-published novels, for too many readers are all too quick to condemn a book at first glance without reading a word of the prose. However, full marks to the author for re-formatting and re-printing. Indie publishing a novel can be a sharp learning curve, and unfortunately too many authors are not willing to repair their novice-level mistakes and move forward to becoming a professional and respected author.
In Wolf’s Head, the baddies are bad, and the good guys are good. Readers who insist on accurate historical detail will find fault as there are a few inaccuracies, a few contrived plot changes, some character inconsistency, and one or two scenes which are author’s voice and ‘told’ rather than ‘shown’. I would advise the author to find a good editor to work with as these new-writer issues are so easily dealt with – however, this is a debut novel that tells a darn good story by an author who has the potential to become a top-class writer. I look forward to reading more of his work.