Literature: The Outlaw Chronicles

"Meet the Godfather of Sherwood Forest."
Tagline of Outlaw

A Historical Fiction re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend by Angus Donald, narrated by Alan A'Dayle, rendered as Alan Dale.

So far 4 books have been published

  • Outlaw (2009)
  • Holy Warrior (2010)
  • Kings Man (2011)
  • Warlord (2012)

Robin in this version is named Robert Odo and is the youngest son of a Norman baron. He was outlawed after horribly torturing and killing the abusive priest who was his tutor. He forms a base of support not unlike that of a modern Mafia Don. As the series begins he has long established his power base in Sherwood Forest and his influence stretches over Nottingham and the surrounding villages. Despite this, he romances Marie-Anne, Countess of Locksley.

In Outlaw, Alan is a 13-year-old thief who lives near Nottingham in 1188, and is caught by the Sheriff, Ralph Murdac, who was responsible for the hanging of Alan's father, the second son of a minor French knight and a former wandering trouvère (troubadour), falsely accused of thievery himself. When Alan is caught in the act he escapes and is taken by his mother to Robin to seek his protection, to whom he swears an oath of service until death. He is trained in the arts of war by various mentors. He also reveals his talent at music and is trained to be a trouvère like his father. When Marie-Anne is held captive by Murdac, Alan helps Robin rescue her. Alan also fights alongside Robin when Murdac forms an army to destroy him. In the ensuing battle Murdac is narrowly defeated, and he flees to Prince John. Robin negotiates a pardon from King Richard in return for going on Crusade, and marries Marie-Anne, becoming the Earl of Locksley.

In Holy Warrior Alan follows Robin as part of King Richard's army on the Third Crusade. Robin being Robin, he has an ulterior motive: to get a cut of the Middle East trade. Before leaving England, Robin and Alan make powerful enemies which will hound them in the Holy Land when they try to protect Robin's Jewish merchant contacts from anti-Semitic rioting. Robin is also shadowed by the continuing effect of Murdac's schemes and actions from the last book.

In King's Man, Alan is dispatched to Germany to find and rescue King Richard who has been taken captive, while Robin helps thwart Prince John's efforts to keep Richard away from England and take power himself, and settles old scores with Murdac.

In Warlord, Alan marches with King Richard's army to reclaim his domains from King Philip of France, while simultaneously connecting with his father's family and discovering just who the 'Man You Cannot Refuse', the man who had Alan's father murdered.

  • Action Girl: Goody (Godifa)
  • Action Girlfriend: Goody again
  • Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain: Robin is entirely self interested, but is fiercely protective of his friends, family and servants.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Murdac, Malbete, Prince John, and YMMV on Robin.
  • Badass: Nicholas de Scras - the Hospitaller. He even manages to take down Little John just using his shield.
    • Robin. Master swordsman and archer.
    • Sir Richard At Lea.
    • William the Marshal is out and out probably the biggest in the series. In Warlord there are very few problems that can't be solved by throwing the Marshal at them
  • Badass Jew: Reuben. Very much so. Throws knives so hard they go an inch into solid wood, and wields a scimitar with devastating skill.
  • Badass Preacher: Friar Tuck. Brigid to an extent, since she is a pagan Priestess.
  • Benevolent Boss: Robin. If you're part of his 'familia'. Unless you cross him.
    • King Richard also qualifies.
  • Big Bad: Murdac, later Prince John.
  • Blood Knight: William the Marshal, who is often eager to get into the heart of battle, to the point where Richard, a Boisterous Bruiser himself, grumbles about it.
  • Brave Scot: Robert de Brus - Robin's master of horse in Holy Warrior
  • The Big Guy: Little John.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Little John.
    • King Richard also qualifies.
  • The Captain: Alan becomes this.
  • Create Your Own Villain: As part of Robin's band, Alan frames a boy for theft which leads to his expulsion. This boy, whose only crime was being a Jerkass, grows up to be Guy of Gisborne.
    • Sir John Peveril's son, spared by Robin, looked after his father, then, when he grew up, sought revenge. He became Alan's servant and sought to kill Robin in Holy Warrior. He believed that Alan, who was furious with Robin at the time, would help him. Unfortunately, he didn't count on Alan's Undying Loyalty, and Alan killed him.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Robin. Repeatedly.
  • Compelling Voice: The Man You Cannot Refuse seems to have this, though its Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. It doesn't affect Robin in the slightest.
  • Doomed Home Town: Alan's is destroyed by Murdac's men.
  • The Dreaded: Robin as an Outlaw, and the thought of his vengeance in later books.
  • Driven to Villainy: Nur
  • Establishing Character Moment: in Outlaw it quickly becomes very clear what kind of man Robin is when he and Alan meet and Robin has a traitor's tongue cut out.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Alan in King's Man temporarily, to plant Alan as a spy in Prince John's household. Nur in a tragic Driven to Villainy example.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Sir John Peveril. Robin cuts off all his limbs minus his left arm.
  • Famed In-Story: Robin. Unsurprising, since Alan is the narrator and the one who writes the songs. He also occasionally complains about how inaccurate everyone else's are.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We know for sure that Alan only has one child and his wife predeceases him, giving a chilling edge to Nur's curse.
    • On a more historical note, we know that Richard is going to die and that the French lands of the Angevin Empire will fall.
  • Genius Bruiser: Alan. He's an exceptionally skilled swordsman and a highly talented musician, managing to use his talents at the latter to squeeze money out of King Richard, becoming the likely apocryphal singer, Blondel.
    • Richard himself is better at both, with Alan remarking that while his parts of their duet took hours, Richard came up with his on the spot.
  • Gentle Giant: John, to an extent, especially with children. Just don't piss him off, because he can and will kill you with his bare hands.
  • I Gave My Word: Alan. If he gives his word, he'll stick to it, no matter what it costs him.
    • Robin.
  • Kick the Dog: A literal one, Malbête kills Alan's dog Keelie.
    • Also when Malbête shoots Alan and steals the enemy standard off him.
    • And when Malbête mutilates Nur. Basically everything Malbete does.
  • Little Miss Badass: Goody in Outlaw. At the age of 10/11, out in a bitterly cold winter after having seen her parents killed by Murdac's men and her home burnt down, she dispatches first a cannibalistic mad man and then a wolf with Alan's poniard (a foot long knife/short sword).
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Nur. The Man You Cannot Refuse, Trois Pouces, has a strange effect on Alan and others.
  • The Mole: Robin's brother Hugh misleads Robin about the size of Murdac's army, nearly causing his defeat.
  • Nice Guy: Alan.
  • The Obi-Wan: Sir Richard at Lea to Alan, which is why Alan took it so badly when Robin killed him because He Knows Too Much. As well as Robert de Brus at a later date. Neither survives
  • Pet the Dog: Robin's treatment of Alan.
  • Properly Paranoid: Robin.
  • Public Domain Character: Most of them. Alan also takes the role of the probably apocryphal minstrel Blondel.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: At the end of King's Man: "You! Killed! My! Kitten!
  • Revenge: Robin does this a lot. Alan's father is hanged on Murdac's orders. Alan captures Murdac and has him hanged.
  • Reverse Mole: Alan
  • The Rival: Murdac to Robin and Guy of Gisborne to Alan.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Robin against the Peverils.
  • Ship Tease: By the beginning of Holy Warrior it is quite obvious that Alan and Goody are going to get together at some point.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: Angus Donald was inspired by Bernard Cornwell, author of action-oriented Historical Fiction like The Warlord Chronicles and the Sharpe series. Outlaw was even sold with the offer "as good as Bernard Cornwell or your money back" (the publisher's idea, not the author's).
  • Smug Snake: Murdac, Prince John and Guy of Gisborne.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Alan accidentally feels up Goody when he stumbles in Kings Man. She does not take either it or his protestations that it was an accident at all well.
  • The Sociopath: Robin again. If you're outside his circle, you might as well not exist. If you're outside his circle and upset him, you will wish that you did not exist.
    • This is a constant source of conflict between Alan and Robin, as Alan is, by and large, a Nice Guy and a good Christian. Robin is very much neither. This conflict sparks Alan's temporary Face-Heel Turn.
  • Title Drop: Regularly and obviously in the first two books, and with greater emphasis in King's Man, when Alan vows to himself that he will serve Richard for all his life, declaring himself: "A king's man"
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: a running theme, particularly in King's Man, is that Alan worries that he's slowly turning into Robin, with this as part of the process.
  • Undying Loyalty: Alan to Robin and King Richard, to the point where it's arguably his defining trait. It is genuinely undying in both cases, even surviving Robin's murder of Sir Richard at Lea. The fact that Robin knows this, the fact he likes Alan and Alan's undeniable skills as a musician and a warrior are probably why Robin takes some of the crap that he does from Alan.
    • More than one character has underestimated Alan's capacity for this.
  • Villain Protagonist: Robin, to an extent.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Alan, sometimes.