Hood - Stephen R. Lawhead (Historical Fiction)
This was the first in Lawhead’s new trilogy about Robin Hood, but it was far from being the ‘traditional’ tale as we know it today. Lawhead did an extensive amount of research concerning the beginnings of the ‘Robin Hood’ folklore (the first appearance of the legendary thief was in the 1200s!), and wove this tale from what he believes was the beginning of the Robin Hood myth. Thus, we have a hero whose story is set in Wales, away from Sherwood Forest, and a little more gritty and realistic than simply a tale of ‘merry men’. It’s set in the historical past, with real and fictional characters interwoven – similar to what Lawhead did with his Pendragon Cycle – so that you can truly begin to believe that this was something that literally occurred in history, but perhaps wasn’t retained as part of the period’s ‘official’ historical record.
I thought it was exceedingly well done, and I’m very much looking forward to the next book, Scarlet, where Will Scarlet – who else? – makes his first appearance.
Rating: 3.5 coffees out of 5
Golden Treasures of Troy: The Dream of Heinrich Schliemann - Herve Duchene (Ancient History/Archaeology/Biography)
Concise, brief, fluid… and some great photos. This was a quick look at the life of Schliemann and his contribution to archaeology, incorporating such elements as: his childhood, his training, his business ventures, his tendency toward lies, his archaeological digs & their controversy, and the basics of why archaeologists either love what he did for ancient history or wish he’d never touched a trowel.
The text is woven alongside photos and paintings from the digs, as well as treasures he found, and scans of various documents – it was very interesting to read the tale of Schliemann from beginning to end in this way, because during classes for my archaeology degree, we only heard snippets about him and his work (but mostly about the sites themselves, since my profs tended to speak of Schliemann with a bit of disdain… as it happens, this is not uncommon).
If you’re interested in the beginnings of the archaeological process in the Greek world, it’s worth the hour it’ll take you to read this 170 page book (really, there are a lot of pictures!). I got my copy from bookcloseouts.com for about $5, and it was certainly worth it.
Rating: 3 coffees out of 5