Book Review: ‘Ghosts of Sherwood’ by T S Maynard and W J McNally

Genre: Folklore mashup

Description: 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.

Authors: 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.

Appraisal: 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 online, 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. Why such a determinedly American book isn’t using its own myths and legends I have no idea. But for this Brit, half the fun was in spotting them coming. I will give 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.

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.

*** review originally prepared for Big Al and Pals review website. Received a complimentary soft copy in return for an honest review ***


Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed. BTW - it says the link to Facebook is broken. I dispute that. Click it and see, why not?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: