Hodd, By Adam Thorpe

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The Independent Culture

Ridley Scott might have reinvented Robin Hood for the 9/11 age, but in the revisionist hands of Adam Thorpe, "Robert Hodd" was little more than a common thief living by a weird set of home-brewed libertarian beliefs. It is Thorpe's somewhat complicated conceit that he has come across the early 20th-century translation of the memoirs of an elderly monk, who as a 14-year-old minstrel, was captured by Hodd and taken to live in the "thick wild forest".

What follows is a highly distinctive account - part apologia for the sins of youth, and partly an effort to set the record straight about Hodd and his band. Written in cod medieval English, and dotted with arcane footnotes, this novel is probably as far away from any Hollywood version of Merrie England as you can get.