Ghoul of Sherwood
by Jay Ruud
Encircle Publications

"So we are assuming, then, that this head belongs to the dismembered body found here last week."

Robin Hood has decided to attend the Sheriff of Nottingham’s archery tournament, likely staged as a trap to capture the outlaw. Robin plans to win the competition and take the prize right under the sheriff’s nose by wearing a disguise. While Friar Tuck is a loyal member of Robin Hood’s band of outlaws, he, like others in the group, believes Robin’s plan is ill-advised. Of course, they are not able to dissuade him. So, while Robin travels to Nottingham, the good friar and his traveling companion, the dwarf Thorvald, make the long trek by cart to the town of Wallingwells. They are on a mission of charity, according to the friar, who feels compelled to work to solve the mystery of a recent unusually brutal murder that has occurred in his own hometown.

This book is the second in the author’s Robin Hood Mystery series. However, instead of being a story about Robin Hood, the heroes of this tale are Friar Tuck and Thorvald. It is a fun and unexpected twist. Still, the author juxtaposes Friar Tuck’s murder mystery with enough of the exploits of Robin to keep the popular figure’s devotees reading. The extensive cast of characters is not only realistic—and as gritty as one might expect—but its members are also highly entertaining. One small downside for some might be the challenge of keeping several men named Will straight in their minds. Fortunately, this element does not make it difficult to follow the story. Fans of the denizens of Sherwood Forest will undoubtedly cheer this addition to the popular legend.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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