Genre: Folklore mashup
This little book is not what I was expecting. The well known and loved characters from Sherwood Forest are present, sometimes in a book of stories about their deeds, sometimes as LRP gamers, sometimes in ways that are less easy to explain.
So mashed up is the book that I cannot even tell you with any confidence if it is meant for grownups or children. Suffice it to say that I – who am a grownup – enjoyed it, and I believe that children who enjoy stories about characters out of legend and fairy stories will find this well worth their time. The story gallops along: there is never a dull moment.
In short, it is an allegorical morality tale told in a twenty-first century way by using this borrowed genre.
Maynard and NcNally have been friends since childhood. This short novel is a joint project between the two of them, with Maynard acting as publisher. Maynard has been writing stories for over 25 years and has recently begun adapting them into books and novellas with McNally. This is their first book.
The story keeps you on your toes as to where and when the action is currently taking place: are we in Sherwood Forest, somewhere in a bit of 21st century American wilderness, or are we now getting a lesson in work-life balance? The authors generate plenty of sympathy for the main characters, so caught up in work that their family breaks down. The myths and legends in the book have all turned to the dark side at the beginning through espousing the American way of business. However, the book doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the life lessons are delivered with plenty of humour. This is partly generated by mashing together multiple British myths and legends. Half the fun is in spotting these coming, so I will only mention a single example: Camelot Inc is a particularly noxious invention. Much amusement is also derived from juxtaposing ye olde horse-drawn, sword-wielding world of the legends with, eg, smart phones and not being able to get a signal wherever and in whatever century we’re currently stuck.
If your work-life balance is out of whack I recommend you read this with your neglected offspring. You will all enjoy it thoroughly and it will give them an opportunity to perform tutting, tooth sucking and head shaking at intervals, as the book has much wisdom within it, as well as a lot of laughs. You will come to see the error of your overworked ways.
If your work-life balance is tickety-boo, you can pity the poor saps at the beginning with the superiority of one who has all this down pat, worry about the sadly altered state of fairytale land in the middle and feel surprisingly good at the end when nearly everything comes out right.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: Judi Moore
Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words