Sir Alan Dale is trying to enjoy his new found wealth in peace and quiet. His estate at Westbury is providing a comfortable living and his beloved wife Goody is pregnant with their first child. Dale hopes that his life of daring and adventure are now over but when your Lord is Robin Earl of Locksley, danger and adventure are never far away.
To make matters worse, the witch Nur has been seen around Westbury and when Goody falls ill Dale fears the worst.
With Goody on her deathbed, Robin convinces Alan that the only thing that can save her is the Holy Grail.
Christendoms holiest and scared object is in the hands of an old enemy and Robin is determined to take it from him.
So with the Templars dogging their every step and Nur as one of the Grail Companions, Robin and Alan travel across England and France in their quest for the Holy Grail.
Can Alan survive the array of enemies lined up against him and return the Grail to Westbury in time to save his beloved Goody and their unborn child?
Grail Knight is the fifth book in the Outlaw Chronicles by Angus Donald and while you can read it by itself I would recommend you start from the beginning of the series to get the full back story.
If you read these books expecting the classic Robin Hood stories and characters you are going to be sorely disappointed.
Angus Donald’s Robin is much more of an early gangster, surviving on robbery, murder and protection rackets. Even though by Grail Knight he is an Earl with large estates, old habits die hard and he is an expert in getting the Alan, the narrator of the story in trouble.
Grail Knight is written much like an old fashioned Fantasy quest tale in the style of Tolkien or Eddings. The Grail Companions all fill a need or niche within the group.
Robin is the Leader and thief, we have a virtuous Knight, a Holy man who is the groups conscience, the loyal and brave squire, a fighter man, Nur is the bad guy brought into the group and Dale has the personal and pressing need to complete the quest.
It even has the all powerful enemy with the power and men to dog their every step and as they overcome each obstacle the group draws closer together.
I really enjoyed this aspect of the book and it is quite a departure from the first four books and shows the versatility of author’s writing. Each book has had a different aspect which has included, religious fanaticism, royal power and military might.
The history in his book is as usual top notch. Donald comes across as an author who knows his subject and is never afraid to put lots of historical details into his books. This doesn’t affects or slow the story and gives the book a rich depth of detail.
I raced through this book in just a couple of sittings and this is always a good measure of how good a book is.
This book is Angus Donald at his best and I can highly recommend the whole series.
Grail Knight is out now.
Angus Donald was born in 1965 and educated at Marlborough College and Edinburgh University. He has worked as a fruit-picker in Greece, a waiter in New York and as an anthropologist studying magic and witchcraft in Indonesia. For the past 15 years, he has been a journalist in Hong Kong, India, Afghanistan and London. He is married to Mary, with whom he has a baby daughter, and he now writes full time from home in Tonbridge, Kent.