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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Saturday, February 28, 2015

an interesting addition to the milieu

Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1) byDina L. Sleiman 

Death came quickly when King John, enraged and battling recalcitrant barons, outlawed all who opposed him.
Lady Merry Ellison's family was no exception. All were slaughtered outright on her family holdings. All except Lady Merry and the children. An unusual young woman at 15 who could shoot and tumble. She trained and honed the survivors into a group known as 'The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.' 
Timothy Grey had ties to Merry. As a neighbour and ninth child to the Baron of Greyham they were destined to marry. That past and promise is now gone, collapsed after the killing of the Ellison's and all their dependants.
Now two years later, Merry and her group unknowingly steal a fortune in King John's taxes. Retribution is at hand, John is furious and the 'ghosts' must move camp, closer to an area of forest where Timothy is serving the Baron of Wyndeshire. Tasked with apprehending the ghosts Timothy captures a likely lad in the forest--and it looks like all Merry's well thought out plans are at risk.
The Robin Hood milieu is given a new and interesting twist. I enjoy reading how writers take that theme and give it different legs. Take for example the Hunter of Sherwood series by Toby Venables, and one of my all time favourites, The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley. 
Here, Robin Hood is referenced by Merry as Robyn of the Hode. Certain aspects of this story show thoughtful reflection--a strong female character, the changing of the relationships between what were children and now are becoming marriageable young men and women, the reign of King John and his estrangement from the Pope with the resulting effect on his people, the divine right of Kings, the place of women in medieval society. Christian themes are woven into the storyline. Given that religion is the epicentre of people's lives in these times this is appropriate. 
Certainly an interesting story.

A NetGalley ARC

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